If you are the innocent victim of violent crime and have suffered personal injury you are entitled to make a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). The entire process is usually dealt with by a CICA claims officer who has authority to finalise an application however there are checks and balances, including reviews and appeals, built into the system to ensure that an applicant is treated fairly. At almost every stage in the process an applicant is entitled to ask for a review of any decisions made by the claims officer handling the application which may involve review by a more senior claims officer. In the event that the decision is still unsatisfactory CICA appeal solicitor can apply to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeal Panel (CICAP) for a final decision which is binding on the CICA. Furthermore, if CICAP does not exercise its discretion properly the matter can, in limited circumstances, be considered by the government Ombudsman.
To instigate review by a senior officer it is necessary for CICA appeal solicitors to submit an application within 90 days of the initial decision. The request must outline the reasons for the application as clearly as possible including any grievances. You will be notified in writing of the senior officer’s decision. The circumstances in which a claimant may ask for further review by a senior officer include :-
refusal to waive the 2-year time limit on applications
refusal to reopen a case
withholding an award
reduction of an award
repayment of an award
If the claimant is still not satisfied with the outcome, they may then bring an appeal to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeal Panel (CICAP), a body which is independent of the CICA. Requests for appeals must be submitted within 90 days, barring exceptional circumstances. When CICAP has rendered its decision, it will issue a written notice to both the appellant and the CICA, outlining the reasons for their decision. The CICA must abide by the CICAP ruling.
At any time prior to payment the CICA reserves the right to reconsider its decision. The CICA must give the claimant 30 days’ notice to allow them to make representations to be considered by the CICA in rendering their final decision. The ability to reconsider the decision enables the CICA to either increase or decrease the amount awarded based on new evidence.
Also the CICA retains the authority to reopen a claim based on any material changes in the victim’s medical condition that might cause injustice if the original amount awarded was allowed to stand. There is usually a limitation period of 2 years on the reinstatement of a case but the CICA does have discretion to extend the period in special circumstances.
Specialist CICA appeal solicitors have the expertise to help victims bring successful claims to the CICA and to appeal the decision to CICAP if necessary and they will zealously pursue the maximum compensation available to you under the tariff scheme. Most criminal injury solicitors handle CICA compensation claims on a risk free no win no fee basis. Should your application prove to be unsuccessful you will not be charged. You pay nothing upfront and you are not responsible for funding the claims process.