0370 270 6000

already registered?

Please sign in with your existing account details.

need to register?

Register to access exclusive content, sign up to receive our updates and personalise your experience on brownejacobson.com.

Privacy statement - Terms and conditions

Forgotten your password?

Scutts v PC Keys; Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police

29 May 2001
The issues

Emergency Vehicles – Civil Liability Of Police Driver.

The facts

The Claimant then 17 was struck by a police car driven by the Defendant when on duty. At 10.15 p.m. the Claimant was crossing the road to catch a bus wearing dark clothing and apparently “keen to catch the bus”. The collision with the police car caused him severe brain damage from which he had recovered well although not to the extent that he would ever be able to hold down a responsible job or live independently. The Judge below had found that the lighting was not good and that although the police driver had a duty to reach the scene of a burglary to which he had been called out as soon as possible, he nonetheless owed a duty to the public to drive with due care and attention. Had he been driving at 30 mph within the limit he would have been able to stop in time. The Defendant appealed to the Court of Appeal.

The decision

Speed was not the deciding factor alone in determining whether the driver was negligent. Emergency service vehicles on duty were expressly exempted from criminal charges in respect of breaking the speed limit, ignoring keep left signs and traffic lights. A driver in the emergency services was entitled to expect that other people would note the signs of his approach such as sirens and flashing lights.

In the circumstances of the case the police officer had been entitled to accelerate through the green lights at the junction and to do so at speed.

Appeal allowed.

Focus on...

Legal updates

Gosden and another v Halliwell Landau and another [2021] EWHC 159 (Comm)

This claim addressed the question, of when the date for assessment of damages in cases of negligence should be determined and shows that when appropriate the Courts will depart from the default position.

View

Legal updates

Assessing the scope of employers liability – Chell v Tarmac

These were the opening remarks of Mr Justice Martin Spencer when handing down his Judgment in the recent case of Andrew Chell v Tarmac Cement and Lime Limited [2020] EWHC 2613, the latest in a series of appeals dealing with the scope of vicarious liability.

View

Legal updates

Non-payment of insurance premiums during the Coronavirus pandemic

The forced closure of many businesses as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Recent reports from the Office for National Statistics state that the economy was 25% smaller in April than it was in February this year.

View

Legal updates

Reinstatement for property damage losses – when does it apply?

The Court of Appeal has recently considered the correct test for measuring the indemnity for property damage losses and has provided useful guidance on whether an insured needs to intend to reinstate the property to its pre-loss condition.

View

The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

Mailing list sign up

Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up