Six former police officers who are suing for the consequences of damaging and dangerous undercover work have been told to limit their claims.

The six have said their former police chiefs did not properly recruit, manage or rehabilitate them.

The constant stress of the danger and fear of being unmasked allegedly left their health so affected they could not continue being police officers.

In an example quoted in a Court of Appeal decision released yesterday, one of the officers was left addicted to cannabis, with post-traumatic stress disorder and a changed personality.

Five of the six received ACC payouts for impairment of bodily function, loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, and weekly income compensation.

One has already received more than $373,000 in ACC.

But they still wanted compensation from NZ Police for damage they said ACC did not cover, and for exemplary damages intended to punish NZ Police for the way the officers were handled.

The Court of Appeal has said the law bars compensation claims for damage resulting from personal injury by accident, whether or not ACC covers the specific damage alleged, but the officers could still claim the exemplary damages.

The officers' claim was filed in the High Court at Wellington.