Pursuing Civil Harassment Claims
Harassment is when someone behaves in a way which makes you feel alarmed, distressed, humiliated, fearful or threatened.
It could be someone you know, for example, a neighbour or people from your local area, or it could even be a stranger.
Some examples of harassment include:
- Unwanted phone calls, letters, emails or visits
- Fear of violence
- Abuse and bullying online via social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc.)
- Verbal abuse and threats
- Domestic abuse
Harassment is one of the rare legal actions that can be pursued through both the criminal and civil courts.
In the criminal court, a higher burden of proof is required. A complainant needs to prove the harassment beyond all reasonable doubt by convincing a jury that a defendant's actions amounted to harassment.
Making A Claim Of Harassment Through The Civil Court
The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 prevents a person from acting in a way which amounts to harassment of another and which he/she knows or ought to be aware would amount to harassment of the other.
It is up to the court to decide if a course of conduct amounts to harassment under the Act. In doing so, the court will determine whether a reasonable person would think the behaviour amounts to harassment.
Suppose you have experienced harassment at work and also believe that the harassment was discriminatory (on the grounds of your gender, race, age etc.). In that case, it is also possible to bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal under the Equality Act 2010, where you can be compensated for the injury to your feelings.
Injunctions and compensation
The court can make an order (known as an injunction) that the person harassing you must immediately stop their behaviour. If they do not stop harassing you after the court has granted an injunction against them, they can be prosecuted for committing a criminal offence and possibly be sentenced to imprisonment.
You can also ask the Court for compensation if you've suffered emotional loss - for example, if the harassment has made you feel anxious or distressed. You may also be able to claim any financial losses from the harassment (e.g. if the harassment prevented you from attending work). You can also apply to court for a Restraining Order against the perpetrator if they are prosecuted via the criminal courts.
How Our Harassment Solicitors Can Help With Civil Claims
If you choose to pursue a civil harassment claim, our team of experienced solicitors are here to help.
We can advise you on the various legal options available and analyse the cost benefits of each option.
Our team can also:
- Draft “cease and desist” letters to the perpetrators of harassment campaigns.
- In relation to online harassment, draft letters to publishers and hosting companies seeking the removal of offensive content.
- Make applications for interim injunctions where appropriate.
- Assist you with pursuing a claim for damages to compensate you for the harassment.
- Pursue additional claims for defamation, malicious falsehood, breach of confidence/misuse of private information and/or the breach of the Data Protection Act 2018/GDPR.
Contact Monan Gozzett’s Civil Harassment Team
If you would like to find out more information, contact Monan Gozzett today.
You can call 0207 936 6329 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, fill out an online form below.
Frequently Asked Questions About Civil Harassment Claims
Do I have to involve the police with harassment claims?
Most people think it is only the Crown Prosecution Service ("CPS"), that can instigate criminal proceedings against a defendant; however, that is not true. You may be able to start what is called a "private prosecution", where, although the police and the CPS do not commence the proceedings, you can bring criminal proceedings against a defendant.
Is there a time limit for making a harassment claim?
It is important to be aware that there is a time limit for bringing a civil claim for harassment. You must commence your claim within six years of when the harassment occurred.
If you experienced harassment at work and choose to bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal, the deadline is three months.
What should I do if I feel in immediate danger from harassment?
It is important to remember that if you are being harassed and feel in danger, you should contact the police. However, should they not be able to deal with your matter, other options are available to you.
Please note that if you feel you are being harassed because of your disability, race, religion, transgender identity or sexual orientation, you can report the harassment to the police as a hate incident or crime.