The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) exists to pay compensation to the innocent victims of violent crime. The CICA is funded by central government and distributes over £200 million every year. Most criminal injury compensation claim solicitors deal with CICA claims using the no win no fee scheme which is completely without risk. Solicitors will usually offer free initial advice without obligation.
The amount of an award made by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority is determined using a ‘Tariff Scheme’ with a maximum cap of £250,000 for the actual injury. All injuries are assigned a value in one of 25 bands valued between £1,000 and £250,000. If there is more than one injury only the three most serious are considered and the second and third injuries are discounted by 15% and 30% respectively before all three are added together to reach the amount of the payout.
In addition to an award for pain & suffering, criminal injury compensation claim solicitors may make other claims for financial losses up to a further maximum of £250,000 subject to rigorous conditions and certain time limits.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority imposes many conditions that must be satisfied before a claim is successful. The most onerous parameters are outlined on the list below:-
The CICA application must under normal circumstances be submitted within two years of the assault – there are some exceptions.
The assault must be reported to the relevant authority as quickly as possible – a few days delay may prejudice a CICA claim.
The victim must fully co-operate with the authorities with a view to prosecution of the perpetrator – this usually means being willing to give evidence in a criminal trial if necessary.
The victim must have behaved reasonably before, during and after the incident and must not have provoked the attack in any way.
Whilst the victim must co-operate with all investigation it is not necessary for the perpetrator to be convicted or even to be identified in order to succeed in a CICA claim.
The injury must have required at least two visits to a medical practitioner and the effects must have lasted at least 6 weeks.
The victim’s unspent previous convictions are considered when the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority assessesthe amount of the award which can be reduced or refused dependent on the type and gravity of the previous convictions that remain unspent. Some convictions for serious offences are never spent and convictions other than those involving violence are also considered on the basis that it is unfair to compensate anti-social individuals from public funds effectively provided by the taxpayer.
Reviews & Appeals
There is a well-established appeal procedure at all stages of a CICA claim. Decisions made within the CICA offices whilst progressing the claim can effectively be appealed by requesting a review which is carried out by a more senior officer within the CICA. The final decision can be either reviewed within the CICA or it can be referred for reconsideration to the independent Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeal Panel (CICAP). Decisions taken by CICAP may in certain circumstances be referred to the Parliamentary Ombudsman.