This is the $64,000 question as there are few set guidelines for compensation payments when you sue the police. If the case goes to court and a jury decides your level of compensation the judge will give them guidance. If there is no jury involved in the case the decision in entirely up to the judge. As with any compensation claim every case is difference and the decision will very much depend on the evidence you have provide.
There are some general guidelines from the Court of Appeal regarding claims for malicious prosecution and false imprisonment cases, and these are as follows;
In a false imprisonment case you should be expecting at least £500 in compensation. If your false imprisonment lasted for 24 hours this rises to £3000.
In a malicious prosecution case you should be looking at receiving a minimum of £2000 but if the prosecution lasts for 2 years the figure rises to £10,000.
If the circumstances in your case are deemed to be particularly bad then the jury or judge can also award an ‘aggravated damages’ payment on top of your compensation. There are many circumstances where this can happen, these are just a few of the most common;
The circumstances surrounding your arrest were particularly humiliating
The police were offensive or insulting to you at the time of arrest and you can prove this.
Aggravated damages usually amount to at least another £1000, but they aren’t usually over twice the amount of the basic compensation. In rare cases a jury or judge may also award a further amount called ‘exemplary damages’. These are intended to be a punishment for the police when they have way over stepped the mark in their treatment of a civilian. Circumstances where exemplary damages may be awarded include;
A police officer, or officers, lying in court when they gave their evidence
They subjected you to sexist or racial abuse.
Exemplary damages fall within the £5000-£50,000 range. When all added together the total of the basic, aggravated and exemplary payments should not add up to more that 3 times the amount of the basic compensation.
One point to note is that if you are suing the police under the Human Rights Act you will not receive any monetary compensation.