Maat's Method

Maat's Method Logo

Police Excessive Force & Police Brutality Lawyers Australia

Including Assault and Battery Claims Against Police

Police cannot just use force on somebody, and they cannot just use any amount of force they want. They can only force when it’s necessary, and even then, they can only use the amount of force needed to actually execute one of their lawful powers. If more force than necessary is used, police will not be acting in the execution of their duty (see Woodley v Boyd 2001 NSWCA).

What Constitutes Excessive Force Or Brutality By the Police?

The meaning of “reasonable force” was considered in the case of Makri v State of New South Wales. In that case, Judge Gibson cited R v Turner [1962] VR 30 at 36 finding that (with emphasis added):

What is reasonable depends upon two factors. He [the officer] is entitled to use such a degree of force as in the circumstances he reasonably believes to be necessary to effect his purpose, provided that the means adopted by him are such as a reasonable man placed as he was placed would not consider to be disproportionate to the evil to be prevented.

What is outlined above is a balancing test between “the evil to be prevented” and the force used in preventing it. Even if somebody is committing a minor offence, it may not be lawful to use force on that person. The Court will often ask whether any reasonable alternatives were available.

It is also worth noting that S105 of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 states that a police officer may discontinue an arrest at any time. S105(2) provides, relevantly, that an arrest may be discontinued if the reason for the arrest no longer exists, or if it is more appropriate to deal with the matter in some other manner (such as a caution, warning, penalty notice or court attendance notice). The spirit of this section, and the manner in which it has been applied by the courts, is clear – arrest should only be turned to when necessary, and it should be discontinued as soon as possible, unless its continuation is necessary.

Do You Believe Police Have Used Excessive Force Against You?

If police use more force than was necessary, even if they are exercising an arrest, you may be entitled to sue them for damages. This is because an excessive use of force may constitute an;

  1. Assault; and/or
  2. Battery

If police have used force against you, we can help with claims against the police.


“I could not have been more fortunate or more pleased to have Peter Fam take on my case against an ‘establishment bully’. From the outset, Peter’s meticulous “take one careful step at a time” approach, instilled great confidence in me that we had an excellent chance to bring justice to my situation. Peter displayed an amazing ability to explain the nuances of my situation and to sincerely and effectively involve me in the decision along the way. His dedication to humanity, truth and integrity was clear, and undoubtedly had the ‘bully’ on the back foot. Thus, we had a very good outcome. Maat’s Method: Outstanding excellent service!”

Dr Georgina Hale MBBS FRACP PhD

“My experience with Peter Fam was nothing short of special. His approach was unique because he was able to provide a comprehensive understanding of my situation and recommend an action plan. Any lawyer can quote and reference the law, but Peter stood out to me because of his ability to speak in my language and reference the things that mattered to me. His communication was clear and his advice came with no pressure. He understood the importance of different stakeholders and how even a positive legal outcome could have the potential to impact some parties negatively. He had a truly objective approach to my situation and had the grounded energy i needed to redirect my attention to where it was needed most. More than anything, Peter restored my hope in humanity because at a time when i had lost hope in people, he was there to show me that there are still good, honest truthful people in the world that value doing whats right more than doing whats profitable. Thank you Peter”

Ali Mahfouz

“Peter was extremely helpful during a tricky court case and time. He supported me through navigating and settling with an incredible outcome. When dealing with the case, Peter was extremely professional but also sensitive to my emotions and feelings. Peter was very helpful in understanding specific nuances of the law to support my case. Through our interactions and the way he approached the situation, showed his integrity and authentic desire to support people. His work went beyond and above and I highly recommended his services. “


“My experience with Peter at Maat`s Method was a pleasant and positive one. Peter was caring, understanding and of a generous spirit…fulfilling a much needed service…administered with integrity…”

Carolyn Crowe

“Peter at Maat’s Method took on my human rights case against a large government agency and achieved a favorable outcome. Many other lawyers said it couldn’t be done however Peter’s dedication and effort made it happen. Peter is a great listener, honest, responsive and effective. I am exceptionally grateful that he was my lawyer.”

William Cartwright

“Peter helped me in a time of need. He was empathetic, supportive and professional from the first time we connected.

I contacted a number of lawyers who were more worried about payment, didn’t listen to my concerns and were cold and transactional. Peter felt like a friend from the start.

Peter very quickly understood my issue and provided logical advice and direction. He took the weight of the issue off my shoulders and became my voice and advocate – I felt like I could finally breathe in an extremely stressful situation.

Peter helped me achieve justice and I recommend him to everyone who needs legal advice. With Peter you get someone dedicated to your cause, someone who is truly independent and who will fearlessly stand up for justice and truth, no matter how big the opponent may be.

Thank you Peter.”

Nicole Turnbull - Director at Neon Shed

“I had the greatest pleasure and experience having such a wonderful and extremely knowledgeable Human rights lawyer Peter Fam assist me with a very difficult and complex situation.

Peter’s passion to promote awareness knowledge and discussion on matters about Human Rights is extraordinary.

He is compassionate considerate and was very supportive towards my case. He always found the time to communicate about my concerns and I found him extremely helpful,  especially when I had nowhere to turn.

I highly recommend Peter Fam as a Human Rights lawyer, his dedication and resilience are impeccable.”

Georgia Kotsias