Compensation is available to a range of victims of violent crime. Potential claimants include not only the direct victims of violent crime, but also bereaved close relatives and sometimes certain categories of witness.
The compensation scheme is administered by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority which has set monetary tariffs for each of the most common types of physical injury.
Hickman & Rose has long experience advising on the merits of applying for criminal injuries compensation, assisting in successful applications and challenging decisions. We can assist at all stages of a compensation claim on a privately funded basis (legal aid is not available).
Criminal injuries compensation is available to the ‘blameless’ victims of violent crime who have suffered either physical or psychological injury. It is also available, in certain cases, to the close relatives of someone who died as a result of a violent crime.
Compensation may also be able to certain categories of witnesses to crimes. It is also available, in some cases, to people deemed to have taken a ‘justified and exceptional’ risk trying to stop a crime from happening.
The time limit for any compensation claim is two years from the date of the injury, although there is a discretion to extend it in exceptional circumstances (e.g. in cases of historic childhood sexual abuse). There are nationality requirements.
In order to be eligible for consideration the injury needs to have been reported to the police without any delay and as soon as reasonably possible. Any unreasonable delay may result in rejection of a claim.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme is a statutory scheme administered by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
The CICA has set tariffs for each of the most common physical injuries. The maximum amount of compensation available from the CICA for the most severe injuries is £500,000 and most awards are much smaller than that.
As well as awards for injury types there are added awards for loss of earnings and other expenses, including financial dependency. The injury must be sufficient serious to merit the minimum payment of £1,000.
There are rules for the calculation of multiple injuries where a percentage reduction is applied for the second and third injuries and nothing awarded thereafter.
A dedicated stand-alone scheme for victims of terrorist atrocities at home and abroad was announced in July 2020, and was, at the time of writing, awaiting primary legislation.
The condition that successful compensation applicants must be ‘blameless victims of crime’ has proved problematic for some people.
The CICA may refuse or reduce a payment to an applicant who has a criminal record even though they may carry no blame at all for the circumstances of the injury (e.g. if they have previous convictions and/or have been in prison). There is a points scheme for calculating the reduction of compensation for convictions. The reduction is up to 100% (where no award will be made).
The CICA may also reduce or refuse a payment where it takes the view the applicant’s behaviour contributed to the incident and or if there was a failure to cooperate with the police or criminal investigation.
Depending on the circumstances it can be possible to challenge the CICA’s decision to refuse or reduce a compensation payment, but anyone considering this is advised to seek legal advice first.
Hickman & Rose has long experience in this area. Our lawyers have helped many clients to make successful CICA claims, and advised on the merits of challenging CICA decisions, including the refusal of awards and reductions imposed on the grounds of conduct or criminal convictions.
We have successfully represented clients at the appeals tribunal, the last one being in relation to the recoupment of overlapping payments (if you recover damages from another source, the general rule is that the CICA payment should be paid back).
We can assist at all stages of these claims on a privately funded basis. However, because legal aid has been abolished for current applicants we advise applicants of limited means to lodge their own claim online and conduct any tribunal appeal in person. Legal aid may be available to challenge a final CICA decision by judicial review after the appeals process is exhausted.