Court of Appeal affirms decision in ZH v Commissioner of the Police for the Metropolis
Who are BL Claims Solicitors
BL Claims Solicitors specialise in personal injury, clinical negligence and travel claims, providing our clients with hands-on support, nationally.
We are rated as one of the top firms in the UK and believe in speaking to our clients in jargon-free language and ensuring you're speaking to a highly qualified lawyer right from the outset
The Claimant was a severely autistic and epileptic nineteen year old, who suffered from learning difficulties and could not communication by speech. He brought a claim for assault and battery, false imprisonment, unlawful disability discrimination under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) and breaches of Articles 3, 5 and/or 8 under the Human Rights Act 1998 and for declaratory relief.
In September 2008, the Claimant was at a swimming baths, with a group although they were not swimming. He became fixated by the water and could not be encouraged to move away. His teacher went back to his nearby school to fetch help. His carer told pool staff not to touch him, otherwise he would jump in. The manager at the pool decided to call the police, telling them that the Claimant was aggressive.
When the police arrived, the carer explained that the Claimant was disabled, but they approached him and he jumped into the water. Fortunately it was only at chest height. The lifeguards then entered the water and grabbed the Claimant. He was then moved into the shallow end of the pool and lifted out, struggling. Leg restraints and handcuffs were applied and the Claimant was put into a police van. These were later removed.The Claimant suffered psychological trauma as a result of the experience, and exacerbation of his epileptic seizures.
At first instance (ZH v Commissioner of the Police for the Metropolis  EWHC 604 (Admin)) the Claimant won his case. The judge, Sir Robert Nelson said that the claims for assault and battery were subject to the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Once force was used upon the Claimant, or he was imprisoned, the burden was on the Defendant to establish a lawful basis for the use of such force or imprisonment. To achieve this, the Defendant had to demonstrate that the officers complied with the relevant provisions of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
The judge was satisfied that the Defence had failed to satisfy the preconditions under the Mental Capacity Act 2005. He considered each potential trespass to the person in stages, and said that the defence on each one was not made out. There was also a false imprisonment.In relation to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, there had been a breach and the police had failed to established the defence of justification.There had also been a breach of Article 3, Article 5 and Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Total damages would be £28,250.
Now in the Court of Appeal Commissioner of the Police for the Metropolis v ZH ( EWCA Civ 69) the decision of the trial judge has been upheld.
BL Claims Solicitors are here to help
If you would like to talk to someone and discuss a potential claim please call us on 0344 620 6600 anytime between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday, or if you would prefer you can email us at email@example.com