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Riot damage (EW)

Any person who sustains loss as a result of certain property being injured, stolen or destroyed by “riotous” persons may claim compensation from the Police Authority in the police area in which the property is situate (Riot (Damages) Act 1886).

Property covered: a house, shop or building, or property in it, and certain machinery, engines or erections used in agriculture, manufacturing or quarrying.

Recoverable losses: loss to property and contents is covered under the Act, but not consequential losses; see:

The Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime v Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co (Europe) Ltd and others [2016] UKSC 18 20 April 2016

 

Riot: for there to be a riot, at least three persons must be involved and they must have a common purpose; the execution or inception of that purpose must be proved; there must be proof of an intent on the part of the persons involved to help one another, by force if necessary, against any persons opposing the execution of their common purpose; and the use of force or violence in connection with the common purpose must be proved and it must be such as to alarm at least one person of reasonable firmness and courage, although direct evidence of this is possibly unnecessary.

Compensation is only payable where the persons involved are not only riotously but also “tumultuously assembled”. A “tumultuous” assembly is one where the rioters were in such numbers and such a state of agitated commotion and were so acting that the forces of law and order should have been well aware of the threat which existed and have taken steps to prevent damage being caused (see J W Dwyer Ltd v Receiver For The Metropolitan Police District).

Case law:


J W Dwyer Ltd v Receiver for the Metropolitan Police District [1967] 2 All ER 1051: A about 9.40 am Saturday morning; plaintiffs' jewellery shop and pledge department ¬†entered by four men who threatened two employees and a customer with iron bars; men proceeded to effect a robbery; manager's wife upstairs heard unusual noise; on entering shop similarly threatened; men then took property from shop to waiting van and left within very short time; certain amount of noise and commotion caused but did not attract attention of anyone outside shop; nor heard by proprietor of shop next door. Plaintiffs made claim against Receiver for Metropolitan Police District under s.2a of the Riot (Damages) Act, 1886; court held claim failed because thieves had not satisfied s.2 requirement; i.e. thieves be assembled “tumultuously” as well as riotously, a tumultuous assembly being one where rioters in such numbers and such a state of agitated commotion and were so acting that the forces of law and order should have been well aware of the threat which existed and have taken steps to prevent damage being caused.
[Copyright of All England Law Reports in the original text of the above report is acknowledged. Legaleze is solely responsible for the above summary.]

Claims
A claim for compensation for riot damage must be made in writing to the compensation authority of the police area in which the damaged property is situated. A claim must be delivered within 42 clear days after the day when the damage took place. There is no longer a prescribed form for making the claim.
(Regulations under the Riot (Damages) Act 1886, as to claims for compensation (1921) 1921 No. 1536)

News item:

21/04/2016: Supreme Court allows Mayor’s appeal on riot damage

The Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime v Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co (Europe) Ltd and others [2016] UKSC 18 20 April 2016

This case raised the question of statutory interpretation about whether the loss referred  to in the 1886 Act covered only physical loss but also compensation for consequential losses, including loss of profits and loss of rent.

The MOPC appealed to the Supreme Court against that finding. The Supreme Court allowed the appeal, holding that the words of the 1886 Act should be construed in the light of the prior legislation going back to 1714.


08/12/2011: Update on claims made under the Riot (Damages) Act 1886 arising from incidents in Central London between Saturday 6th August and Tuesday 9th August 2011 (inclusive)
http://www.mpa.gov.uk/committees/sop/2011/1208/09/

[Page updated: 21/04/2016]

 

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