As solicitors who act for members of the public on disputes, we also represent on a regular basis victims of crime on a Contingency fee basis. Basically this means that your lawyers fees are paid by deducting a percentage of any damages awarded.
As is highlighted in our injury profile, anyone who is a victim of crime in England and Wales can make an application to the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (CICA) for an award under the scheme. This scheme is funded by the tax payer to compensate genuine victims of crime.
There are as we have set out in our injury type explanatory note criteria to qualify for this award.
The award is made on a similar basis to personal injury claims valued by a Civil Court, though the scheme has its own way of calculating pain and suffering and financial losses.
There are situations where you can make an application for an award and sue the assailant. For example if you are assaulted and the matter is reported to the police and the assailant is prosecuted you can sue in a Civil Courtfor assault, battery and financial losses and also make an application to the CICA. However, if you are successful in your application to the CICA then any award granted by them will be deducted from the damages you may recover from the assailant.
An application can be rejected because of your own conduct prior to the assault/incident and/or during the course of your application. If therefore you are pursuing a claim for assault and there is some evidence that you may have provoked the assailant then your conduct would be taken into account in the award made. If the conduct is serious, the application would be rejected. In most cases the award would be reduced by a percentage.
Your conduct during the course of the application can also be taken into account. For example if you are pursuing a claim for loss of income and there is evidence that you were also receiving benefits whilst you were working, your award can be reduced by a significant percentage.
As this is a government based scheme there are appeal procedures available if you are not happy with the initial decisions. Procedures provide that if your application is rejected or you are made an award with which you consider to be too low and you have evidence to increase the award, you can within ninety days of the decision apply for the award to be reviewed.
Your application would be reviewed by a different officer. At that stage you are entitled to introduce additional evidence. CICA applications are investigated by the CICA. They obtain reports from the police if the incident is reported, medical records from your general practitioners and the hospital where you have received treatment. They in certain circumstances obtain medical evidence regarding your injuries, by appointing an independent medical expert to examine you and prepare a report on your injuries. Based on that they will make a decision on your injury and financial losses.
However, on a review you can introduce your own evidence to support your arguments on merit and/or value of the award.
If the review is not to your satisfaction and you obtain advice that it should be appealed, you can appeal to what is called the First Tier Tribunal (Criminal injuries Compensation).
You would have ninety days from the date of the review. The tribunal would consist of a qualified lawyer and two members of the public.
The appeal would be heard by the tribunal and you can introduce further evidence. On an appeal you can give evidence and introduce witnesses to support any aspect of In essence therefore your claim.
this scheme is for those who are genuine victims of crime who have suffered genuinely at the hands of an assailant and who conducted their affair honestly. The scheme would expect the Applicant to go to them with what we lawyers call “clean hands”.
Please note that there is time limit of two years from the date of the incident to make an application. You must make the application within that time, after which you would be barred from doing so.
If you are, or know someone who may have been victims of crime and wish to obtain further information please contact Leeanne Druse or Abdul Hafezi of this office on 0207 377 0600.