Criminal Injuries Compensation Board
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is a non-departmental public body of the UK Government. The Authority, established in 1996 and based in Glasgow, administers a compensation scheme for injuries caused to victims of violent crime in England, Scotland and Wales. It is funded by the Ministry of Justice in England and Wales and the Justice Directorate in Scotland.
Since the scheme was set up in 1964, the Authority and its predecessor, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, have paid more than £3 billion in compensation, making it among the largest and most generous of its type in the world, although it has been criticised on occasions for failing to provide adequate compensation to victims of serious crime, particularly parents of murdered children and rape victims. It has also been criticised for claiming that the applicant was a contributor to the incident from which they sustained their injury, and in cases of murder or manslaughter that the deceased had contributed to his or her own death; on this basis its compensation payouts to claimants have been reduced to lower amounts and it has even refused to pay any compensation at all in some cases.
Since the closure of its London office, CICA has employed 450 civil service staff from the Scottish Government and the Ministry of Justice in an office in Glasgow to process and decide on applications for compensation from victims of violent crime. Each year, some 65,000 applications are received and nearly £200 million is paid in compensation payments.
Until 1996, awards were set according to what the victim would have received in a successful civil action against the offender. However, since April 1996, the level of compensation has been determined according to a scale set by Parliament. The scheme and the 1996 tariff were revised in 2001. The tariff has descriptions of more than 400 injuries; each is attached to one of 25 levels of compensation between £1,000 and £250,000. In certain cases, victims may also apply for financial loss compensation (for example, through loss of earnings or medical care costs).
An amendment to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme has been passed by Parliament and will come into effect from 3 November 2008. All claims registered on or after this date will be dealt with under the 2008 Scheme. Ongoing claims registered before this date will still be dealt with under the 2001 Scheme.
In January 2012, Justice Secretary Ken Clarke proposed further reforms to the Scheme. There was cross-party support for altering the Scheme to compensate victims of overseas terrorist attacks. However, there was criticism of proposals to end compensation awards for certain minor injuries, and for more severe reductions in awards than already exist to people who have been convicted of a crime.
Generally, claims must be based on crimes that have been reported to the police, although a conviction is not necessary as claims are based on the civil law principle of balance of probabilities rather than the "beyond reasonable doubt" method used in UK criminal courts.
Appeals against decisions of the Authority, normally when a claimant applies for their payout to be increased, can be made to the First-tier Tribunal.
The current (August 2009) Chief Executive is Carole A. Oatway.
- CICA website
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