Essex Police have been refused permission to appeal against a finding that entertainer Michael Barrymore is entitled to "more than nominal" damages over the wrongful arrest which he says destroyed his career.
Mr Justice Stuart-Smith gave his decision at London's High Court.
In August, the judge ruled against the force, which had argued the comedian and TV presenter should only receive a nominal payout.
Barrymore, who was not in court for the latest stage in the litigation, values his claim at more than £2.4 million.
He was arrested and detained in June 2007 on suspicion of the rape and murder of 31-year-old Stuart Lubbock, who was found in the swimming pool at his Roydon home six years earlier.
Police had admitted the arrest was unlawful, as the arresting officer did not have reasonable grounds to suspect Barrymore was guilty.
The police can still pursue the application directly with the Court of Appeal.