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Miscarriages of Justice

Volume 450: debated on Wednesday 25 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many (a) re-appointments and (b) competitions for the appointment of an independent assessor to assess ex-gratia payments from public funds under section 133 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 of compensation for miscarriages of justice there have been since 1976; (94398)

(2) how the applicants for appointment as Independent Assessor of claims for compensation for miscarriages of justice were assessed; by whom they were assessed; how the competitions for appointment as Independent Assessor were advertised; how many applicants applied in respect of each competition; what procedure exists for unsuccessful applicants to raise concerns about the handling of the selection process; and what further competitions are proposed;

(3) who has held the appointment of Independent Assessor to assess ex gratia payments from public funds or under section 133 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 of compensation for miscarriages of justice since 1976; for what period each person held that appointment; on what terms and conditions of engagement each Independent Assessor has been appointed; and what remuneration was payable to each in each year of their appointment;

(4) what changes in the remuneration of the Independent Assessor have recently been proposed; and what changes will be introduced in respect of his remuneration for assessments of compensation from 19 April 2006.

Sir Michael Ogden QC was independent Assessor of compensation for miscarriages of justice from February 1978 to July 1989, succeeding Sir Walker Carter, who had discharged these duties since 1957. Sir Michael was formally appointed to the role in November 1985 and was appointed under section 133 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 in November 1988. Sir David Calcutt QC succeeded Sir Michael Ogden on 27 July 1989, and was re-appointed in July 1994 and July 1999. Lord Brennan assumed the role on 27 July 2001. He remains in post, having been re-appointed by the Home Secretary on 27 July this year for a second five-year term. No further competition for the post is intended until Lord Brennan’s appointment is due to come to an end.

I have placed copies of Sir David Calcutt’s and Lord Brennan’s terms and conditions of appointment in the Library. It has not so far been possible to trace those relating to Sir Michael Ogden.

The only appointment that was subject to formal competition arrangements was Lord Brennan’s. This was run in accordance with the guidance issued by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments, and in partnership with Capita RAS. It was advertised in The Lawyer, The Law Society Gazette, and Counsel magazine, and on the Top Jobs and Home Office internet sites. The 57 applications were assessed against the requirements of Schedule 12 to the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and the job specification. An initial sift was undertaken by independent assessors appointed by Capita RAS, and the five shortlisted candidates were interviewed by a panel comprising Mr. David Cooke (the then Deputy Director of the Criminal Policy Group in the Home Office, who chaired the panel), Ms Petra Laidlaw (an independent member provided by Capita RAS), and Sir David Calcutt.

The Assessor’s fees are paid, per case, at Band C of the Cabinet Office’s Fees for Judicial Appointment and Appointments to Tribunals, Inquiries and Appeal Boards. At the request of Sir David Calcutt, an additional, special daily fee rate was introduced on 1 August 1992 in respect of more complex cases. A table showing those rates follows. On 27 July 2006 a revised fee structure was implemented, under which Lord Brennan is paid £360 per case for interim assessments and advice cases, £500 per case for straightforward final assessments, and £1,000 per day for complex cases.

Assessor of compensation for miscarriages of justice special fee rates

£

Higher rate (per day)

Financial year

Fee

Fee inclusive of VAT

1 August 1992 to 31 March 1993

500

587.50

1 April 1993 to 31 March 1994

515

605.12

1 April 1994 to 31 March 1995

542

636.85

1 April 1995 to 31 March 1996

565

663.88

1 April 1996 to 31 March 1997

587

689.73

1 April 1997 to 31 March 1998

605

710.88

1 April 1998 to 30 November 1998

617

724.98

1 December 1998 to 31 March 1999

626

735.55

1 April 1999 to 31 March 2000

644

756.70

1 April 2000 to 31 March 2001

663

779.03

1 April 2001 to 27 July 2001

683

802.53

27 July 2001 to 31 March 2002

683

1 April 2002 to 31 March 2003

700

1 April 2003 to 31 March 2004

716

1 April 2004 to 31 March 2005

731

1 April 2005 to 31 March 2006

749

1 April 2006 to 26 July 2006

756