We have assisted many victims of crime who have been physically or mentally injured. One of the ways in which victims may seek redress is by claiming compensation for their injuries from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). The relatives of a victim of crime who has died may also be able to make such a claim.
The scheme is not as generous as it used to be. 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. There are fixed amounts for different injury types, and 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.
The time limit for a claim is two years from the date of the injury, although there is a discretion to extend it in exceptional circumstances.
A problem for many applicants is that it is limited to “blameless victims of crime”. 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. It may also reduce or refuse a payment where it takes the view their behaviour contributed to the incident.
We 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. However, a major problem for current applicants is the abolition of legal aid for a solicitor to help with the application process.
As a result we generally now recommend that an applicant of limited means should 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.
We can assist at all stages of these claims on a privately funded basis.