Case details

Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis (Appellant) v DSD and another (Respondents)

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Case ID: UKSC 2015/0166

Case summary

  1. Whether there is an obligation under s.6 Human Rights Act 1998, read with art.3 ECHR, to investigate ill-treatment which has been perpetrated by a private individual without any complicity of a public authority and/or;
  2. Whether in the case of such ill-treatment any positive obligation is confined to a requirement to put in place the necessary structure to enable such investigation to be conducted but does not extend to the conduct of an individual investigation into a particular alleged crime

The respondents were victims of John Worboys, a serial sex offender known as the Black Cab Rapist and thought to be responsible for the drugging and sexual assault of over 100 women. Both NBV and DSD reported their assault to the police, and in NBV’s case Worboys was quickly arrested as a suspect but released without charge. In DSD’s case, he was never identified. Following a review of sexual assault cases by police in February 2008, cases were identified which involved a particular modus operandi by the perpetrator. This resulted in a police media appeal which led to the identification of DSD and NBV as victims as well as numerous other women. Worboys was eventually charged with 23 offences relating to 14 victims and convicted of 19 counts (including the assault on NBV). Both women brought damages proceedings against the police, alleging failure to carry out effective investigations into their complaints that amounted to inhuman or degrading treatment contrary to art.3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Judgment appealed

[2015] EWCA Civ 646



Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis

  1. DSD
  2. NBV
  1. Liberty
  2. Secretary of State for the Home Department
  3. Rape Crisis England and Wales
  4. End Violence Against Women Coalition
  5. Southall Black Sisters
  6. The Nia Project



Lord Neuberger, Lady Hale, Lord Mance, Lord Kerr, Lord Hughes

Hearing start date

13 Mar 2017

Hearing finish date

14 Mar 2017

Watch hearing
13 Mar 2017 Afternoon session
14 Mar 2017 Morning session Afternoon session