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comparison was unlawful detention of a serving prisoner at the end of a lawful sentence (ex parte Evans), having regard to the distress and intrusion caused.  He therefore considered that an award of £6,000 was likely (and in the circumstances made an interim award of £4,000).

16.The guidance given by the Court of Appeal in Thompson & Hsu as to the award of exemplary damages for false imprisonment has been set out above.  In Holden v Chief Constable of Lancashire32 the Court of Appeal held that unconstitutional action by the police, such as false imprisonment, could in principle and without specific aggravating features attract an award of exemplary damages.  The Court of Appeal has recently re-affirmed that exemplary damages awards can be made in claims brought against chief officers of police on the basis of their (statutory) vicarious liability for the tortious acts of officers in their force, in accordance with the Thompson principles and without regard to the means of the individual officers33.  This was said to be necessary in order to ensure that awards of adequate amounts could be made against those who bear public responsibility for the conduct of the officers concerned34.

Inter-Relationship between False Imprisonment and Article 5 Claims

17.Damages claims for unlawful detention are now frequently brought on the basis of both false imprisonment and section 7 HRA alleging an infringement of article 5 ECHR.  However, there are a number of potentially significant distinctions between the two causes of action, which may make one or other more appropriate in particular circumstances.

18.Article 5 is engaged where there has been “a deprivation of liberty”.  This has an autonomous meaning that is not identical to the concept of imprisonment in the tort of false imprisonment35.  In relation to article 5 the distinction between deprivation

32 [1987] QB 380.

33 Rowlands v Chief Constable of Merseyside Police [2006] EWCA Civ 1773.  The defendant had relied upon Lord Scott’s speech in Kuddus v Chief Constable of Leicestershire Constabulary [2002] 2 AC 122 and the judgment of Lord Justice Waller in Manley v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2006] EWCA Civ 879 to suggest to the contrary.

34 See paras 47 – 48.

35 For example see the discussion of the relevant case law at paras 42 – 46 in Austin & Saxby v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2005] EWHC 480 (QB).

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