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Short detention to prevent breach of peace lawful

R (Hicks & Ors) v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2017] UKSC 9

Related Member(s):
Mark Summers QC, Phillippa Kaufmann QC
Related Practice Area(s):
Crime and Regulatory Law, Police Law, Human Rights
Court:

This appeal considered whether the Court of Appeal was correct to hold that the appellants’ arrests and detention on the day of the Royal Wedding to prevent breaches of the peace were lawful under ECHR, art 5(1)(c) or alternatively under art 5(1)(b). The Supreme Court unanimously dismissed the appeal. The Court considered that, whilst the fundamental principle underlying art 5 is the need to protect the individual from arbitrary detention, with an essential part being timely judicial control, art 5 must not be interpreted in such a way as would make it impracticable for the police to perform their duty to maintain public order and protect the lives and property of others. The Court preferred the view of the minority of the ECtHR in Ostendorf v Germany (App. No 15598/08). Thus, it held that art 5(1)(c) is capable of applying to a case of detention for preventive purposes followed by early release. It would be perverse if the law was such that in order to be lawfully able to detain a person to prevent their imminent commission of an offence, the police must harbour a purpose of continuing the detention, after the risk has passed, until such time as the person could be brought before a court with a view to being bound over to keep the peace in the future.

 

Phillippa Kaufmann QC and Mark Summers QC were involved in this case.