CICA is the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority and is an executive agency, sponsored by the Ministry of Justice. They take on compensation claims from people who have suffered as a blameless victim of a violent crime, whether the suffering is mental or physical.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme – set up by the government – lays out the criteria and compensation amounts that are to be followed by CICA. Compensation payments are calculated using a tariff of injuries which has been established by the government, based on the severity of injuries received.
Priorities of CICA
Between 2014 and 2017 the priorities of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority include:
- Investigating claims fairly and processing applications as quickly as possible
- Be courteous to all applicants and treat them with sensitivity
- Keep all applicants well informed and help them understand the service
- Work effectively with other important services – e.g. police – to limit delays in the service
- Offer equal opportunities to all applicants
- Be accountable for the service provided and public funds that are spent
Making a claim with the CICA
If you believe you’ve been an innocent victim of a violent crime in the past two years then you’re likely to be entitled to make a claim.
Unlike a normal claim, you don’t need to pay a legal representative like a solicitor. Free independent advice may be available from Victim Support or other charities.
Victim Support is a national, independent charity that provides free, confidential support and advice to victims of violent crime. They will not only help you with what happened, they can also help with the claims process too.
Although you’re entitled to free advice, some people prefer to pay a professional to sort everything out for them. However, you should be aware that if you choose this option of representation, CICA is unable to meet the costs, so you’ll be expected to pay any related costs yourself.
If this is your preferred method of claiming compensation then it’ll work in exactly the same way as any other type of claim. For example, if you claim on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis they will keep a share of the payment to cover their legal fees. Before agreeing to paid representation, it’s important to check how much of your compensation the solicitor will claim, some take much higher proportions than others; the majority of legal professionals, like Express Solicitors, are fair and will take a minimal cut of your award.
Time to claim
You should begin the claims process as soon as reasonably possible after the event. If you were an adult at the time of the incident then this should be within two years of it occurring. If you were under 18 then usually you will have up until two years after your 18th birthday to claim. However, if possible it’s much better to claim earlier and, if you’re unable to claim yourself, our parents or a guardian can make a claim on your behalf.
This time limit will only ever be extended in certain circumstances:
- If exceptional circumstances meant that making a claim within the time limit was impossible
- The supporting evidence provided in support of the application means that further enquiry is not necessary
If you wish for your application to be considered more than two year after the date of the original incident, you will have to provide evidence which shows why the application could not have been made sooner.
Making a decision
Unlike in a criminal court – where a decision is reached on the basis of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ – CICA make decisions based on the ‘balance of probabilities’. If there is enough evidence in support of your case then a trial will be unnecessary and they will make a decision based on the evidence at hand.