legal question re. unlawful imprisonment

Last night a friend caught a taxi home alone after a night out. When he got to his house he gave the driver a £10 note for a £5 fare. The driver didn’t give him any change and insisted he only handed over £5. (this part is subjective and one word against another).

My friend told him to ring the police to settle it, at which point the taxi driver locked all the doors and drove back off down the drive with my friend locked inside. He got agitated and demanded the driver stop, which he refused to do. He pulled the handbrake, and there are tyre marks on the drive to prove this. The taxi eventually got halfway down the road before he eventually stopped.

The driver has reported the incident to the police and is charging my friend with assault. Does my friend have a case for making a counter claim of kidnap/ unlawful imprisonment/ something along those lines?? At the very least the driver should have stated he was performing a citizens arrest before driving off, but he had no case to do so. My friend also denies the assault.

Any thoughts, insights, etc greatly appreciated.

In the US, he’d be able to file charges for unlawful imprisonment. But IANAB (I am not a barrister) so I can’t help with British law.

Tell your friend to get a lawyer. I agree with Nemo as to the consequences in the states, but I have no idea if the same applies in the UK.


the file has gone to the CPS and they are now deciding who they are going to prosecute. I still reckon the taxi driver committed the original offence (my friend admits now to the assault but claims mitigating circumstances as he didn’t know why the taxi driver had locked him in the car or where he was planning on taking him). The driver has claimed he was assaulted in the car on the drive, yet we have taken photos showing a smooth tyre track all the way down the drive which indicates against a commotion in the car at the time.

Anyone else any thoughts?

IANAL, but I imagine that the Taxi-Driver is obliged to take the £10 and make change. If he cannot make change from the money tendered, I imagine that he should allow the passenger to alight without paying, or make arrangements for the fare to be paid at a later date. Either way, I’m fairly certain that you can’t try to drive off with someone in your car against their will. it certainly sounds like unlawful imprisonment / attempted kidnapping…