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Miscarriages of Justice

Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 1 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for (a) ex gratia payments of compensation from public funds for miscarriages of justice there have been since 1976 and (b) payments under section 133 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 there have been since its inception; how many such cases were decided by the assessors in each year; what the date was of each assessment; how much compensation was awarded in each case; how each award was made up; how much in legal costs was awarded in each case, broken down by type of cost; what the reasons were for the award of costs in each case; what the administrative costs, including fees and other benefits payable to the assessor, were in respect of each case; and what length of time was taken in each case (i) from receipt of the application to the assessment of eligibility, (ii) from acceptance of eligibility to assessment of compensation and (iii) from assessment of compensation to the payment of compensation. (94397)

The full information requested could be obtained only at disproportionate cost, or by divulging details of individual awards. However, the following table gives information for the last five financial years regarding the number of applications for compensation in respect of miscarriages of justice, the number granted under section 133 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988, the number granted under the discretionary scheme, and the total spent on compensation for miscarriages of justice. Until the abolition of the ex gratia scheme on 19 April this year, all applications were considered under both the statutory and ex gratia schemes.

Miscarriage of justice compensation applications and expenditure

Number of applications

Number granted under s1331

Number granted under ex gratia2

Total spend (£ million)3


























1 Applications are not necessarily granted in the same year as the application is made, nor finalised in the same year that eligibility is approved.

2 See footnote 1.

3 This includes interim payments and payment of legal and other costs.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what reviews have been undertaken into the schemes relating to ex gratia payments from public funds or under section 133 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 of compensation for miscarriages of justice since 1997; when each such review was undertaken; and who undertook each one; (94400)

(2) what consultation has taken place on compensation and other redress for victims of miscarriages of justice, their relatives and campaigners since 1997.

The former Home Secretary, and any supporting Ministers, approved all cases for eligibility under the schemes. They are therefore well placed to keep the arrangements under continuous and careful review. The former Home Secretary announced some changes to the arrangements on 19 April 2006, Official Report, columns 15-17WS. The further changes that are planned will require primary legislation and will therefore be subject to parliamentary scrutiny and debate.