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Unlawful Detention

The European Convention on Human Rights 1950, brought into English law by the Human Rights Act 1998, guarantees your most fundamental human rights, including freedom from unlawful detention, also known as the right to liberty and security (Article 5 ECHR). It states that no-one shall be deprived of their liberty, except in certain limited circumstances – such as when lawfully convicted by a court.

If you have been detained unlawfully, you can bring a claim against the police, immigration officials or other State bodies responsible for detaining you.

Hodge Jones & Allen is one of the leading law firms in the UK specialising in this area (Chambers 2016). Our passionate and committed team of solicitors has vast experience in bringing and winning difficult, controversial and high profile cases, and we are dedicated to fighting on your behalf to protect your basic human rights.

Our specialist solicitors have been practicing in this area for many years, and have successfully obtained compensation, apologies and other redress from different police forces in cases across the UK. Where Article 5 has been breached, a claim can also generally be made for false imprisonment (and further details about this type of claim are available here).

In immigration detention cases, where detention is taken out pending deportation, the law in relation to how long detention is permitted is complex, but we have considerable experience in this area and have successfully claimed significant amounts of compensation for detainees held for an unreasonably long period of time.

Claims for unlawful detention can include:

  • Compensation claims for unlawful detention
  • Judicial Review to challenge unlawful detentions
  • Securing the release of children who have been wrongly held in detention and subsequent claims for compensation
  • Challenging the lawfulness of detention of vulnerable individuals such as those with health problems, pregnant women, disabled persons and victims of crime
  • Securing apologies, admissions of wrongdoing and changes to police, prison and immigration detention procedures

Our Civil Liberties team works closely with our large Criminal Defence team where needed, so clients benefit from a comprehensive level of service unmatched by many other law firms. Our solicitors are active members of the Police Action Lawyers Group which represents solicitors specialising in complaints against the police.

Client cases

  • We represented a grandfather of good character who was arrested and forcibly searched by the police whilst standing on a private area outside his own house. They found nothing on him but caused him a serious injury in the process and then detained him at a police station. Our Criminal Defence team secured his acquittal after he was charged with obstructing a police officer, and the Civil Liberties team successfully sued the police for false imprisonment.
  • Our client witnessed a woman who had a knife in her hand squaring up to young man. Our client persuaded the woman to give him the knife and he got back into his car. The police arrived and told our client there had been a report that his car had been involved in a knife incident. He explained how he came to have the knife, but the officers searched him and falsely accused him of stealing a child benefit book which belonged to his wife. The officers then arrested and handcuffed him, causing an injury to his wrist. After a 6 day jury trial our client was successful and won a significant amount of compensation.
  • We successfully won a claim for our client after she was arrested for allegedly carrying a false passport. The agency involved failed to contact the relevant Embassy, and she was detained for two months despite it being a genuine passport. Following our representations she obtained compensation for her time in custody.

To find out more and to see if we can help you, please contact us on our free telephone number 0800 437 0080, or contact us via our website. All communications will be treated in confidence, even where you do not become our client. If we can take on your case, we will give you full details about costs, including advising you on the availability of legal aid and Conditional Fee or “no win, no fee” agreements.

If you might want us to investigate a claim, it is important that you do not delay and you contact us as soon as possible. The law requires that cases are started at court within specific timescales. Most civil claims for compensation (for a breach of human rights) must be issued at court within one year, but to make sure evidence is collected and the case is properly prepared, the sooner you contact us, the better. However, if you think you might be out of time, don’t let this stop you from calling us – we will advise you if this is a problem, and if we can take your case on, we will fight to get your claim heard.

Our unlawful detention specialists are part of our London based human rights team. We have almost four decades of experience helping clients from around the UK with a wide variety of legal matters. For expert legal advice use our contact form or call us on 0808 250 6017 today.