There are strict time limits (aka Limitation Periods) that apply when bringing civil actions against the Police as enforced by the Courts. Essentially, these time limits mean that if you do not issue Court proceedings against the Police in time, you lose the right to claim compensation unless in very exceptional circumstances.
The said time limits applicable in most Police claims are as follows:
- False Imprisonment (aka Unlawful/Wrongful/False arrest) – 6 years from the date of detention
- Assault / Battery – 3 years from the date of injury
- Malicious Prosecution – 6 years from the date of discontinuance/acquittal at Court/quashing on appeal
- Misfeasance in Public Office – 6 years from the date damage ended
- Trespass to Land – 6 years from the date of trespass
- Police Negligence – 6 years from the date of damage
- Death in Custody – 6 years from the date of death
- Human Rights Breach – 1 year less 1 day from the date of breach
- Discrimination – 6 months less 1 day from the date of act
- Data Protection Breach – 6 years from the date of breach
Please note that any Personal Injury claim that is brought in conjunction with the above (whether that be physical or psychological) and the time limit is more than three years, this time limit will change to three years from the date of injury.
Despite the above stated time limits, they will not start if:
- You are under the age of 18 when the cause of action occurred.
- If this is you, time will not start running until your 18th birthday.
- You are a ‘protected party’ (a person who may not be able to pursue litigation because of an impairment/disturbance in the functioning of their mind/brain) when the cause of action occurred.
- For a ‘protected party’, time will not start running for as long as they lack the capacity to conduct legal proceedings.
- The Police have deliberately concealed a fact(s) relating to the cause of action.
- By virtue of Section32(1) of the Limitation Act 1980, any relevant fact(s) to your right of action that has been deliberately concealed by the Police will delay the start time until you found out (or when you reasonably could have found out) about the Police’s actions.
Author: Matthew McConville