The Legal Services Directorate provides legal advice and representation to the Chief Constable.
A wide range of areas of law are covered including:
- Advice on operational, procurement, governance, employment, pensions, data protection and freedom of information
- Litigation including civil claims in all courts
- Judicial review
- Public inquiries
- Neighbourhood policing orders (such as Sexual Prevention Orders, closure orders, dog control orders)
- Gang injunctions
- Football banning orders
- Proceeds of Crime Act
- Disclosure of documents (including for family court purposes)
- Disputes as to ownership of property seized by police
- Employment tribunals
- Police misconduct
- Police road traffic accident claims.
As an in-house department we are not allowed to provide legal advice or representation to members of the public. Also we do not advise individual officers or staff, other than when they are acting on behalf of the Chief Constable.
Most claims are resolved without any necessity to commencing legal proceedings. Any bona fide claim against the Chief Constable will be investigated then either settled or reasons given why not. The courts expect both parties to attempt to resolve disputes without bringing proceedings and we expect claimants to give full details of the basis of a claim and to allow a reasonable time for investigation and any negotiation before commencing proceedings.
Where it is decided to commence proceedings please note that the correct name for service of all proceedings upon the Chief Constable is Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset. The Director of Legal Services is a solicitor and is authorised to accept service of all civil proceedings (including judicial review, third party disclosure and other civil claims) on behalf of the Chief Constable. All proceedings should therefore be sent to Legal Services Directorate, Valley Road, Portishead, Bristol BS20 8QJ.
Service is not accepted by email, other than in exceptional circumstances by express written prior agreement.
Upon submitting a claim you will receive a reply giving our reference and the name and telephone number and the lawyer or other person dealing with the matter.
If you have reason to complain about us, please write to the Director of Legal Services at Valley Road, Portishead, Bristol BS20 8QJ. The Director will arrange for the matter to be investigated in accordance with the appropriate procedure. Alternatively you can complain about any professional misconduct to the appropriate professional body.