Michael and others v The Chief Constable of South Wales Police and another [2015] UKSC 2

The Supreme Court was asked to reconsider previous decisions on the liability of the police for negligence. In this case, the police had failed to respond to an emergency call in time to prevent a woman from being murdered by her former boyfriend. In general under the common law a defendant will not be liable for harm to a claimant caused by the conduct of a third party. By a majority of 5 to 2, the court maintained the refusal to impose a duty of care on the police to protect victims from potential future crimes, even where they were aware of a threat to harm an identifiable person, because of concerns that it was not in the public interest for police priorities to be affected by the risk of being sued, and that it would be hard to ascertain the scope of this limited duty. A parallel claim against the police alleging that their failures in this case had breached the woman’s right to life protected by Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights was however allowed to proceed to trial.