ABSOLUTE PRIVILEGE

An initial oral complaint about an alleged crime and subsequent witness statement were essential early steps in an embryonic criminal investigation and therefore qualified for absolute privilege and immunity from suit because it was necessary to protect those who had given evidence to the police and to encourage them to speak freely without the fear of being sued in defamation for doing so.

[2007] EWHC 2501 (QB)

The rule of absolute immunity from suit applied to complaints made to an employment tribunal about unlawful discriminatory conduct in the course of an internal police disciplinary hearing.

[2004] EWCA Civ 943

At an internal police disciplinary hearing for sex discrimination, the applicant was allegedly cross-examined in an inappropriate manner by counsel. The applicant argued that the board’s failure to curtail the cross-examination amounted to sex discrimination. A question arose as to whether the board enjoyed absolute immunity from suit.

Absolute privilege attached to the contents of a letter that a bank had written to the Securities Association for the purpose of tribunal proceedings against the claimants, and which had subsequently been disclosed by the Serious Fraud Office in the course of criminal proceedings against the claimants. It was impossible, for the purposes of an action for malicious prosecution, to regard the defendants as the prosecutors in relation to those criminal proceedings. * Leave to appeal to the House of Lords refused.