0370 270 6000

Vellino v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester

6 August 2001
The issues

Lease – Duty of care to an arrested person

The facts

The claimant, a known criminal, was arrested in September 1994. It was known to the police that he frequently evaded arrest by jumping from the window of his flat, which was on the second floor. On this occasion he jumped from a bedroom window of his flat and fractured his skull. He sued the police. The judge at first instance found as a fact that the officers had permitted the claimant to jump and that if there was a duty of care to prevent that sort of injury they had breached. But he went on however to find that under these circumstances and relying on the ex turpi doctrine (i.e. you cannot bring an action based on your wrong doing) that he did not think there was a duty of care but if there had been the police would have had a defence.

The decision

1.There was no duty on the police to prevent him hurting himself whilst trying to escape.

2. Once he had been arrested, the police had certain duties of care. It was the detention and not the arrest that gave rise to the duties in those circumstances.

3. The claimant had injured himself when he had escaped from lawful custody. At that point he was committing a crime and no longer in the immediate power of the officer.

4. N.B. Mr Justice Sedley disagreed in the dissenting judgment that taking a view that the duty was owed not to give the claimant a temptation to escape or an opportunity of doing so when there was a known risk that he would do himself real harm.

Focus on...

Legal updates

Court of Appeal confirms exclusive English jurisdiction clause in excess liability policies in Canadian pipeline dispute

On 10 June 2022 the Court of Appeal upheld an anti-suit injunction granted in favour of insurers by Mr Justice Jacobs in September 2021 restraining proceedings from being brought in Canada and enforcing the exclusive English jurisdiction clause in excess liability policies.



Payment Fraud landscape shaped by technology in 2021

Payment systems across Europe are under increased pressure to mitigate fraud risks and defend against persistent attacks from enablers using ever more sophisticated and malicious viruses and malware.


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.


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.


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