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Miscarriages of Justice

Volume 495: debated on Monday 6 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many miscarriage of justice claims at the Office for Criminal Justice Reform are unsettled; and in which year each claim or group of claims commenced. (283693)

All payments for compensation following miscarriages of justice are now considered under section 133 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988. Ministers decide whether an applicant is eligible for compensation and, if eligibility is confirmed, the independent assessor decides on the amount to be paid. The assessor bases his decision on submissions by or on behalf of the applicant as to financial and other losses suffered as a result of the miscarriage of justice. This is often a complex and time-consuming process.

There are currently 62 applicants in relation to whom eligibility has been confirmed under section 133 (or under the discretionary compensation scheme abolished in 2006), but where a final payment has yet to be made. The table indicates the year in which eligibility was confirmed and the number of successful applicants involved in each.

Year eligibility was confirmed

Number of successful applicants

1992

1

1993

1

1996

2

1999

1

2000

3

2001

5

2002

1

2003

5

2004

8

2005

11

2006

12

2007

7

2008

3

2009

2

Of these, 26 have still to make final submissions on the value of their claim and 13 are with the assessor for consideration of a final award. In 14 cases the assessor has considered the final submission and has either issued an assessment and is awaiting formal acceptance, or has requested further information before he can make a final award. In the remaining nine cases final submissions have recently been made by the applicants and the papers will go to the assessor for consideration of a final award once they have been collated by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform

It is open to any applicant who has had eligibility for compensation confirmed to ask the assessor for an interim payment.