Last night I received a letter from Manchester City’s solicitors advising me of a Scheme that the Club had set up to compensate victims of abuse particularly at the hands of Barry Bennell and John Broome.
In November 2016 the Club had carried out a review by a leading QC to establish the extent to which the Club was used by the abusers to facilitate access to children. The review remains ongoing but as a result the Club have now launched a Scheme to provide eligible Claimants with an alternative pathway to Court litigation for the resolution of legal claims they have made or could make against the Club.
I have been provided with copies of the Scheme which certainly appears to be an innovative method of offering redress to abuse victims.
The Scheme will be administered by the Club’s solicitors, Pinsent Masons LLP. Victims are offered confidentiality. A Scheme Claimant will be eligible for a redress offer if the Scheme administrator is satisfied that the Claimant suffered the abuse.
As solicitors to the victims we will produce evidence to the Scheme administrators of the Claimants eligibility and will then work with them to determine the compensation payable. This is a detailed Scheme which I will need to work through with the clients that we are representing but potentially offers them speedier redress than they would obtain through the Courts.
It does appear to be a well thought through Scheme which even includes an automatic “standstill agreement” which protects any Claimants from a limitation perspective while the Scheme considers the potential claims.
There are other issues which may need to be addressed particularly where there is more than one Defendant. From my knowledge in particular of Bennell the abuse did not solely occur as a result of connections with Manchester City Football Club and it may be that, where there is more than one potential Defendant, the other Defendants will need to agree to be bound by the standstill agreement and the implications of the Scheme.
The good news for victims is that they now have another option aside from Court proceedings to obtain compensation for the abuse that they suffered and Manchester City must be applauded for taking this step.
I anticipate that many more victims will come forward as a result of the publicity surrounding this Scheme. If you have been affected and would like to discuss the Scheme and its implications please do not hesitate to contact me or a member of our specialist abuse team here at Farleys solicitors by calling 0330 134 6430 or email us through our online contact form.