If you’ve been a victim of police misconduct, you may be able to pursue recourse. Under the Victoria Police Act 2013 (Vic), litigation is taken out against the State of Victoria rather than the individual police officer/s themselves.

Examples of police misconduct where you may have a civil claim

The following lists some common causes of action, and some examples of the misconduct claims that can be pursued:


  • Excessive use of OC spray (commonly referred to as “pepper spray” or “capsicum spray”)
  • Physical assault (hitting, kicking, pushing etc.)
  • Pointing of a gun
  • Spitting
  • Threat to harm

False imprisonment

  • Detention under circumstances that seem unlawful.
  • Custody when unnecessary; can be restrained in handcuffs or deprived of liberty.

Malicious prosecution

  • Charges must have resolved in the individual’s favour.
  • Charges struck out by Magistrate at the Committal stage.

Misfeasance in public office

  • Circumstances where police have intentionally engaged in an invalid or unauthorised act against an individual in the course of their duties.


  • Where the person has suffered harm, or death, in police custody. (Read more about Coronial Inquests)

What evidence will I need for a civil claim against Victoria Police?

There are some types of evidence that are crucial to a civil claim, and are often only available for a short period of time following the incident. Where possible, attempts should be made to retain evidence, including:

  • CCTV footage
  • Mobile phone footage/recordings
  • Magistrate’s Court recordings
  • Contemporaneous notes (your notes of odd interactions with police or police prosecutors immediately following any interaction)

You can learn more about securing evidence in our Fact Sheet – Evidence that will assist in your civil claim.

What are my options for recourse?

If you report police misconduct, you will have several options for recourse:

Civil claim

There may be a civil claim against Victoria Police (indemnified by the State of Victoria).


There are a few complaint avenues that people can undertake on their own. Please refer to our “Police Complaints” fact sheet for more information.

Please note that we do not assist with complaints.

Ex-gratia Payments

This is a one-off payment that occurs outside of the Court system. The State is under no obligation to make ex-gratia payments.

Please note: there is a 3 year limitation from the date of incident to take action. This can be extended in certain circumstances.

Does your team handle cases outside of Victoria Police?

Robinson Gill Lawyers can provide legal representation for cases against:

  • Victoria Police officers
  • Australian Federal Police
  • Corrections officers / Prison officers
  • Protective Services Officers (PSO) / Officers at train stations in Victoria

If you have been affected by a police officer from another state, we encourage you to contact us and we can refer you to a suitable lawyer in that jurisdiction.

How do I know if I have a case for civil litigation?

If you’ve been a victim of police misconduct, we encourage you to use our online tool to learn more about your options. It’s the best way to find out if you have an avenue for civil litigation.

All submissions are strictly private and confidential. Upon completion, one of our lawyers will be in contact to discuss your matter and options.