Farleys this week secured a victory on behalf of Client MB in the High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division Administrative Court.
MB was a victim of historic abuse. He was born in 1978 and between the ages of 10-14 he suffered sexual abuse.
As he grew older he suffered significant mental health issues which he alleges arise from the abuse. He is now 38 years of age.
MB instructed Jonathan Bridge at Farleys Solicitors with a view to pursuing a claim for Criminal Injuries Compensation. Despite the claim being many years out of time Farleys accepted the case and began obtaining evidence in support of MB’s claim.
An application was submitted to the CICA and it transpired at this stage that unbeknown to MB an application had previously been submitted by his father. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority’s records suggest that an application was submitted in 1997 and turned down by the CICA because the Applicant had failed to co-operate with the Police.
The CICA application therefore failed as it was a second application based on the same set of facts. The Scheme clearly disallows such applications.
Farleys instead put forward an argument that MB should be allowed to appeal the 1997 decision, which was clearly wrong on the basis of the conviction of the abuser. Any appeal should have been submitted within 3 months of the decision being made in 1997. By the time the appeal was eventually applied for the appeal was approximately 17 years out of date.
Nevertheless medical evidence was obtained to show that MB would have had difficulty appealing the decision at an earlier stage and when the matter went before a Judge sitting in the First Tier Tribunal she was persuaded to allow MB an oral hearing to challenge this earlier decision.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority were unhappy at this decision and sought to challenge it by way of Judicial Review in the High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division Administrative Court.
They argued that the Judge in the First Tier Tribunal had erred at Law. They argued that this was not a reasonable decision and that allowing an application to review a refusal of compensation after so many years prejudiced the CICA in their ability to administer the Scheme.
The matter came before The Honourable Mr Justice Kerr sitting in Manchester on 1st November. He heard submissions from Ben Collins QC on behalf of the CICA and Elizabeth-Anne Gumble QC on behalf of MB.
He ruled that the Judge in the First Tier Tribunal had reached a properly reasoned conclusion and found in favour of MB.
MB’s case will now therefore be referred back to a hearing to allow him to challenge the 1997 decision refusing him compensation on the basis of a failure to co-operate with the Police.
This case is important because it shows that decisions of the CICA can be challenged many years later where the Applicant is able to show that the original decision was wrong and that there are good reasons why there has been a delay in bringing the challenge. This is particularly relevant for victims of sexual abuse who may struggle for many years to be able to instruct a Solicitor in relation to what they have suffered.
A copy of the Judgment can be found here