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Cover Street on Torts

23. Misuse of process and public powers  

This chapter examines the provisions of tort law concerning misuse of process and public powers, these rules having long been features of English law. It discusses elements of the three principal causes of action, which are malicious prosecution (for legal claims brought without reasonable cause), abuse of process (for legal proceedings commenced with a wrongful predominant purpose), and misfeasance in a public office. The chapter highlights the need to balance the protection of individual rights and interests against the conduct of public administration and the administration of justice. This chapter considers also the limits to witness immunity and abuse of the legal process.