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Date: Thu, 4 Oct 2007 20:08

From: Ken Oliphant

Subject: Hill v. Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Police Services Board


Interesting case. I see there was a 6-3 split. UK lawyers should particularly note this passage (para 57) from the majority judgment:

The record does not support the conclusion that recognizing potential liability in tort significantly changes the behaviour of police ... [there follows reference to empirical literature]. Whatever the situation may have been in the United Kingdom (see Brooks v. Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, [2005] 1 W.L.R. 1495, [2005] UKHL 24; Hill v. Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, [1988] 2 All E.R. 238 (H.L.)), the studies adduced in this case do not support the proposition that recognition of tort liability for negligent police investigation will impair it.




--On 04 October 2007 14:58 -0400 Erika Chamberlain wrote:

In fairness to the SCC, causation was not at issue in Hill.

Importantly, however, Hill establishes that the police owe a duty of care to suspects when investigating crimes, and can be liable for negligent investigation.


Ken Oliphant, CSET Reader in Tort, School of Law, University of Bristol, Wills Memorial Building, Queens Road, Bristol BS8 1RJ.



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