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P v Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service

HNK have a specialist team of solicitors who are experts in dealing with civil actions against the police and public bodies. If you have ever been the victim of misconduct by the police, or a public body such as the courts, or feel you have been mistreated whilst in police custody our Civil Actions against the Police Solicitors can help you to obtain the outcome you desire whether this be a formal apology, disciplinary action against the officer(s) involved or compensation for your mistreatment.

Details of the case

Here we have details of a case in which HNK solicitors successfully obtained compensation for a client after they had been falsely imprisoned. On the 9th August 2017 our client, Mr. P, contacted Maidstone Crown Court to confirm whether his attendance was required at a hearing scheduled for a criminal matter. A court employee advised Mr. P that his attendance was not required.


On the 11th August 2017, Mr. P was arrested whilst parked outside Conquest Hospital, Hastings awaiting the birth of his son. He was arrested on a warrant issued by the Maidstone Crown Court for failing to attend Court. Mr. P was escorted to Hastings Police Station where he was searched and detained for 9 hours. This incident caused Mr. P to miss the birth of his son.


In January 2018, Mr P approached Higgs Newton Kenton Solicitors (HNK) to act on his behalf in this matter. After a discussion we were happy to accept instructions on a No-Win, No-Fee agreement. Our experts had immediate concerns in relation to the conduct of the Court employee and the legality of the warrant that had been issued. HNK believed Mr P to have claim in negligence against Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (“the Defendant”).

HNK responded by serving a letter of claim to the defendant. In the same month the Defendant responded and made it clear that HM Courts and Tribunals Service did not accept any liability. However, they did recognize that a warrant for Mr. P’s arrest should not have been issued which then led to his arrest. The defendant offered a goodwill offer of £3,000 in full and final settlement.

The Defendant was vicariously liable for the Court Employee’s conduct as they were acting under the direction and control of the Defendant. The Defendant’s employees should be properly trained to understand the importance of providing correct information. The Defendant failed to implement training and as a result of Court Employee’s conduct, a warrant was executed on the grounds that Mr. P failed to attend Court.

Due to the warrant being unlawful, P’s subsequent arrest was too unlawful. P was falsely imprisoned for a period of 9 hours and was therefore entitled to claim damages in accordance with Thompson v Commission of Police of the Metropolis [1997] EWCA Civ 2083 guidelines.

Mr. P was also subjected to the use of handcuffs and as a result sustained injury to both hands. If he was not arrested, he would not have been subjected to the same. These injuries sustained in the process of Mr. P’s unlawful arrest constituted trespass to his person. Due to these injuries and fact that Mr. P had missed the birth of his child as a result of the incident, HNK did not deem the original £3,000 offer sufficient and therefore took further action.

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