2011 Vol 36(2): When police complaint mechanisms fail: The use of civil litigation SKU17072

Legal studies exercise based on the article "When police complaint mechanisms fail: The use of civil litigation" by Tamar Hopkins: (2011) 36(2) Alternative Law Journal pp 99-103.

Australia’s mechanisms to investigate police do not meet international human rights standards. Substandard complaint investigations disguise the serious and widespread problem of police misconduct and leave police immune from sanction. Currently, a more effective means of achieving positive results for victims of police misconduct is through using an alternative ‘complaint’ mechanism — civil litigation. The success of civil litigation can be explained by the centrality of victims to the process as well as the independence and quality of the decision-making. For a number of reasons, civil ligation is not as widely used in Australia as in the UK and US. In the absence of effective complaint mechanisms to increase police accountability in Australia, civil litigation must be made more accessible to ordinary people.

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