About once a week, we meet someone in the office or outside of the office who has been a victim of crime or knows someone who was a victim of crime and does not know about the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal.
Frankly, before we began legal practice we did not know about this either. It has a low national profile so to speak.
In any event, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal was established by the government back in 1974 to provide compensation for victims of violent crime. The purpose of this tribunal is to reduce the financial difficulties sustained by victims or a family member of a victim.
Who then is a Victim ?
The Council of the European Union define a victim as:
Victim shall mean a natural person who has suffered harm, including physical or mental injury, emotional suffering or economic loss, directly caused by the acts or omissions that are in violation of the criminal law of a member state.
The Number One Question
The number one question we are asked about the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal is ‘will the perpetrator of the crime be at the hearing if it goes to a hearing’. Regularly a member of the Criminal Injuries Tribunal will make an assessment without the need for a hearing.
In any event the answer is No, the perpetrator will not be at the Tribunal hearing.
The Tribunal Hearing
Once the victim has submitted the necessary documentation to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal, a member of the Tribunal will make an assessment. If you are not happy with the member’s assessment you can make an appeal for a Tribunal hearing. The Tribunal hearing consists of three members of the legal profession and whether the victim should give evidence at the hearing really depends on each case. Obviously, you can have your own legal representation to present your case for you. If you are not happy with the Tribunal hearing’s decision a Judicial Review of this decision can be initiated.
Timing of an Application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal
If you wish to make an application to the Criminal Injuries Tribunal you must make the application within 3 months of the date of the attack/crime. This is quite a short window but it is the rule. This 3 month rule does not apply to a dependant of a victim who has died as a result of the injury.
Persons who can seek compensation from the Criminal Injuries Tribunal
The Tribunal will consider claims for compensation made by or on behalf of:
(a) the person who sustained the injury (the victim);
(b) any person responsible for the maintenance of the victim who has suffered pecuniary loss or incurred any expenses as a result of the victim’s injury;
(c) where the victim has died as a result of the injury, any dependent of the victim or, if he has no dependent, any person who incurred expenses as a result of his death;
(d) where the victim has died otherwise than as a result of the injury, any dependent of the victim.
Once your application to the Criminal Injuries Tribunal has been completed, it is our experience that the Tribunal will not make the assessment until the criminal prosecution case has concluded. The Tribunal will liaise with An Garda Siochana concerning the Criminal case. Consequently, if you have been assaulted, for example, you should make a statement to the Gardai as this will form part of the evidence in the assessment by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal.
Personal Injuries * In contentious business, a Solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.