Policing and Public Authorities

Law enforcement authorities hold a position of great responsibility and trust in our society. On occasion, those charged with enforcing the law abuse that trust, giving rise to significant harm. When this occurs, various remedies are available. Civil actions can be brought against the police and correctional authorities for injuries and deaths caused by the use of excessive force. Claims for malicious prosecution can also be brought against the police and others who initiate unfounded charges. In 2007, the Supreme Court of Canada recognized that police forces can also be held liable for negligent investigations.

An essential element of negligent investigation and malicious prosecution claims is that the charges be resolved in favour of the accused. If a plea bargain or peace bond is in place, neither of these claims would succeed. If there is any question about how the disposition of a criminal charge will impact a future civil claim, the advice of a civil lawyer should be sought beforehand. A claim of excessive force can be brought against a police force, irrespective of whether there was a charge or a particular outcome.

We have considerable experience in bringing civil proceedings against the police and correctional authorities and are able to offer services ranging from opinions through to trial. Our approach is to evaluate cases early and to encourage only meritorious cases. We also take selected coroner inquest, police complaint and human rights proceedings involving the police.

Representative Cases

To speak with a lawyer respecting a case involving government action or the police, please call us at (416) 362-1234.