Conditions for a Lawful Arrest

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The criminal justice system is an existing tool for society to convict those practicing anti-social behaviour. The English legal system is under a lot of dispute given that the government can interfere with individual freedom declaring individuals to prison. Thus, the criminal justice system needs to balance competing interests from punishing the guilty to protecting the innocent. However, not every system can be upmost perfect; there have been miscarriages of justice, unlawful arrests and so on. There are remedies however, for those who abuse the system. In this essay I will critically consider the conditions for a lawful arrest.

There is however, no concrete definition of arrest. It was deprived in Christie v Leachinsky (1947) that an arrest is ‘the beginning of imprisonment’, thereby suspects to a degree are physically restrained as they cannot be free to go wherever they like. So, during a criminal investigation, an arrest occurs whereby the police has the legal and factual grounds to deprive someone’s liberty. This happens to question suspects for possible involvement in a criminal offence or if they hold any knowledge. In Spicer v Halt (1977), Lord Dilhorne stated, ‘Whether or not a person has been arrested depends not upon the legality of the arrest, but on whether he has been deprived of his liberty to go where he pleases’. This suggests, a person held against their will is arrested and in concluding whether the arrest is lawful or not has to satisfy the conditions of this. This leads to a lawful arrest is that of which is under a warrant, common law arrest and arrest under legislation. Furthermore, this shows the right to liberty which is entrenched by the Human Rights Act 1998 is affected by police powers of arrest.


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...ect has given the correct name, in order to obtain suspect’s address, to protect vulnerable individuals and so on.

Moreover, an arresting officer has to consider whether an arrest is essential and consider other alternatives opposed to arrest. In the likes of summons by post or issuing a penalty notice. However, if a police officer cannot justify why the arrest is crucial the arrest and any following detentions is reasoned unlawful. Due to revisions of Code G makes it clear the power of arrest impacts the right to liberty protected under Article 5 of the ECHR. Therefore, it is crucial an arresting officer are aware that potential unlawful arrests could lead to claims for false imprisonment. Thus, why there are remedies for unlawful arrests provided if this has occurred.

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