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Compensation Payments

Volume 978: debated on Monday 11 February 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the practice of clerks of magistrates' courts sending out letters to persons to whom compensation has been awarded, suggesting that they might consider forgoing the compensation to enable the guilty individual to have a fresh start; and if he will terminate this practice forthwith.

In my reply to a question by my hon. Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) on 23 July 1979 I announced my intention to issue revised guidance on this subject to magistrates' courts in England and Wales.—[Vol. 971, c. 17–18.] Previous Home Office advice had been to the effect that, in order to give the offender a fresh start, compensation orders outstanding against young offenders sentenced to borstal training or detention in a detention centre should not normally be enforced. While it is for the courts to decide, in the circumstances of each case, whether or not to seek a victim's agreement to forgo compensation, I am determined to see that the interests of the victims of crime are not overlooked, and the revised guidance issued in Home Office circular No. 122/1979 on 27 July 1979 therefore places the emphasis on continued effort to secure the enforcement of the order in the interests of the victim.