Ruddy v. Chief Constable and the Lord Advocate  UKSC 57
5 December 2012
In Ruddy v. Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police and the Lord Advocate, the pursuer alleges that he was assaulted by two police officers. He claims damages from the Chief Constable in respect of the alleged assault at common law and under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. He also claims damages from the Chief Constable and the Lord Advocate under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights in respect of alleged deficiencies in the investigation of his complaint. The action was raised as an ordinary action in the sheriff court.
The procedural claim was excluded from probation on relevancy grounds in the sheriff court. The pursuer appealed to the Inner House of the Court of Session. An Extra Division of the Court of Session dismissed the action on the ground that it was incompetent. The Court gave two reasons for its decision: (i) the claims under the Human Rights Act should have been brought by way of a petition for judicial review; and (ii) the pursuer was seeking to combine in a single action multiple claims against more than one defender.
The Supreme Court has now reversed the decision of the Inner House. The pursuer was not seeking to invoke the supervisory jurisdiction of the Court of Session and accordingly his claims did not require to be pursued by way of a petition for judicial review. The claims were, in essence, simply claims for damages, which could properly be pursued by way of ordinary action. Further, in the circumstances, the claims could properly be brought in a single action. The pursuer was not seeking to sue two or more defenders for separate wrongs and concluding for a lump sum in respect of those separate wrongs. The pursuer’s claims in respect of the assault and the subsequent investigation were the subject of separate craves. Moreover, though these were separate claims, they were interconnected in law and in fact, and it would be in the interests of justice and more convenient for them to be heard together.
James Wolffe QC and Kenny McBrearty, both of Axiom Advocates, appeared on behalf of the successful appellant in the Supreme Court.
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