Re-reading the Riot Act (again): police liable for consequential losses under the Riot (Damages) Act 1886

As if a lecture at the Police Federation Conference from the home secretary wasn’t enough, the police have also recently received the Court of Appeal’s reading of the riot act. In a decision that opens the door for insurers and businesses to claim further compensation from the police for losses incurred in the 2011 English riots, the Court of Appeal has overturned last year’s High Court ruling that compensation under the Riot (Damages) Act 1886 (RDA) is only for direct physical damage caused to a building and its contents.

Under the ruling, the police are also liable for consequential losses including business interruption and loss of rent. The court has also clarified what qualifies as a ‘riot’.

Confirmation of the broad scope of compensation payable under the RDA will strengthen calls for the RDA to be reformed. If that happens, insurance premiums are likely to increase and property in riot-prone areas will become more difficult to insure…

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