A police search warrant is a police warrant obtained by the police from the Magistrates’ Court which gives them the power to search premises or vehicles.
For more information about police search warrants in the UK please click on the link.
Compensation for Failure to Comply with Search Warrants
Section 6 of the Constables Protection Act 1750 protects police officers who conduct searches under the terms of a search warrant provided they comply with its terms.
So, a mistake on the search warrant which is passed to the police to execute may not give rise to a civil action against the police (but it might be possible to claim against the Court Service).
However, as with all court warrants, the terms of a police search warrant must be carefully complied with.
If the police fail to comply with the relevant sections of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (‘PACE’) any entry or search of premises under the search warrant is unlawful, and can give rise to a claim for compensation.
Crucially, the provisions of Subsections 15 and/or16 of PACE mean that any failure to comply, whether from the outset, or during the course of the search, makes the entire search unlawful.
Claim for Trespass After an Unlawful Police Search Warrant
A claim for trespass to land when using a police search warrant can be brought by the lawful occupier if:
- the police entered with a search warrant but failed to comply with its terms. For example, they searched the wrong address etc.
- they failed to comply with the requirements of s.15 and/or s. 6 of PACE, which specify the terms the police must meet when obtaining and executing a search warrant.
A ‘lawful occupier’ includes property owners, tenants and licensees.
Claiming Compensation After an Unlawful Police Search Warrant
Once it has been established that the police acted on an unlawful police search warrant, the compensation payable can be assessed.
Unfortunately, every case is different, so it is impossible to give guideline amounts.
For examples of successful police search warrant cases Donoghue Solicitors have pursued, go to our case reports page.
Depending on the police’s conduct, those involved may include not only the lawful occupier of premises, such as the home-owner or tenant, but also their family. So, claims can be made by more than one member of the family if they have suffered as a result of the police’s conduct.
Actions against the police for unlawful police search warrants in the UK can be made for:
- an unlawful search to home/ office/ car etc.,
- damage to property,
- false imprisonment,
- taking personal data, such as DNA and fingerprints,
- malicious prosecution at court.
For more information on claims for wrongful arrest/ false imprisonment, see the linked page.
If paid, compensation can be for many thousands of pounds, especially if the court decides to punish the police by paying ‘exemplary damages’ for unconstitutional, arbitrary or oppressive behaviour. Read our police abuse compensation page for more information.
Solicitors to Claim Compensation for an Unlawful Police Search Warrant
Choosing a solicitor to deal with your claim for compensation after an unlawful police search is a serious business.
You want experience, trust, reliability and an aggressive approach to taking on the State.
Trust Donoghue Solicitors to do all this and more.
We are a specialist firm of solicitors who deal with this niche area of law, so you know that we have the necessary skills and experience to handle your claim.
We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, so you can trust us to represent your best interests, not those of shareholders or insurers.
Where possible we represent clients on a ‘no win no fee’ basis. Read more about that here.
Strict time limits apply to cases where you are claiming that there was an unlawful police search warrant, particularly where a breach of the Human Rights Act is alleged. So don’t delay!
Call 08000 124 246 today or complete the online form to start your police search warrant compensation claim.