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How to sue the police

How the legal process works to sue the police

Below are the basic steps of how your legal action against the police will proceed.

First steps

  • We will ask you all the details of the incident(s) including the dates, as there are time limits associated with some courses of action.
  • If your case involves a complaint against the police, we may advise you to make a complaint to the professional standards department of the police force concerned, or in some cases we will do this for you.
  • In some cases we will also issue a letter before action/letter of claim, which is the first step in a civil claim for compensation.
  • Complaints against the prison service usually start with a letter before action/letter of claim.
  • We will discuss your eligibility for Legal Help, which is a small amount of funding to support initial enquiries.
  • We will let you know what information you need to give us to support your Legal Help application.
  • Moving forwards

  • We will allow the police a certain length of time in order for them to investigate your complaint and respond.
  • Whilst we await their response we may be able to gather further evidence and speak to witnesses, or request police recordings.
  • Once we have received a response to the complaint, we will consider the strength of your case. If you have a strong case, and if you are eligible, we will at this point apply for full Legal Aid funding on your behalf.
  • You may have an opportunity to appeal to the Independent Police Complaints Commission or to the individual force concerned.
  • Resolution

  • If Legal Aid is granted, and if it is necessary, we will issue proceedings at court.
  • We may be able to negotiate a settlement instead, which you will be able to consider. We will give you advice on this, and also on the consequences of your decision.
  • Should your case go to court, we will then prepare your case which will involve gathering further evidence, for example expert medical reports.
  • We will be there to advise you all the way to court and afterwards, to get the best possible result for you.
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