Edward Lamb secures an emphatic victory in an appeal against the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority’s refusal to award an appellant compensation on the basis of an outstanding civil Judgment for damages

Articles | Wed 6th Oct, 2021

The CICA had refused the appellant an award on the basis that it took into account, pursuant to paragraph 85 of the 2012 Scheme, a High Court Judgment in the sum of £1,875,112.84 against the perpetrator of an horrific crime of violence; thereby extinguishing the appellant’s entitlement to award under the 2012 Scheme.

The key provision is paragraph 85 of the 2012 Scheme:

Effect of other payments on an award

85. (1) An award under this Scheme will be withheld or reduced if in respect of the criminal injury to which the award relates the applicant, whether in any part of the United Kingdom or elsewhere: (a) receives or is awarded criminal injuries compensation or a similar payment; (b) receives an order for damages from a civil court; (c) agrees the settlement of a damages claim; or (d) receives a compensation order or offer made during criminal proceedings.

(2) An award will be reduced by the amount of any payments listed in sub-paragraph (1), net of any benefits recoverable under the Social Security (Recovery of Benefits) Act 1997 or equivalent legislation (whether in any part of the United Kingdom or elsewhere)

The appellant argued that a purposeful reading of the 2012 Scheme meant that those conditions listed at paragraph 85(1) of the 2012 Scheme must be read in the context of (a) the title of that section indicating that it relates to ‘payments’ and (b) paragraph 85(2) that also refers to payments.

Moreover the appellant further submitted that in circumstances where the High Court Judgment was impossible to enforce against the perpetrator (who was impecunious) and in any event had no merit as it related to reversing property dispositions before conviction of the perpetrator; were relevant factors to consider. To exclude compensation under the Scheme in these circumstances would be contrary to the statutory intention of the Scheme and would be irrational.

The Tribunal adopted the appellant’s submissions and the appellant was awarded a 6-figure sum including a tariff award and loss of earnings claim.

Edward regularly advises on, and acts in appeals against, decisions of the CICA. He is a contributor to Criminal Injuries Compensation Claims (2nd edition), the leading textbook in the area.

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