Legal Eagle: Claiming compensation for brutality by the authorities
Q: I was at a young offenders institute many years ago. The regime there was brutal and I was frequently assaulted by the officers.
I was at a young offenders institute many years ago. The regime there was brutal and I was frequently assaulted by the officers.
I have seen stories in the newspaper and on TV and posts on social media about people bringing compensation claims for being treated like that.
I would like to do the same but I am worried that it is too late.
A: It may well not be too late and you should get urgent advice as soon as possible from a solicitor.
In outline, the law states that there are two main ways to be compensated in cases like yours:
a) Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) – this is a fund of money set up by the government many years ago to compensate the blameless victims of crimes of violence.
Normally claims have to be made within two years of the assaults concerned.
BUT – if the victim never made a police complaint about the assault before the age of 18, then the CICA scheme states that the two-year period only begins to run from the date of the police complaint made AFTER the age of 18.
Also – the CICA has a discretion or choice to accept late claims.
For any individual case it is essential to get on with bringing a claim without delay once you know you may be able to bring such a claim.
b) Taking the government to court or taking individual employees at the institution to court (in the end it is the government that is responsible for institutions like the one you were in) – for claims like this which are brought in the civil courts there is a three-year time limit which begins to run at the age of 18.
However, the courts can disapply that three-year time limit because they have the discretion or choice to allow late claims.
To stand the best chance of getting that choice exercised in your favour it is again very important to get on with any late case without any delay.
Ben Hoare Bell LLP is instructed in many such cases to do with various institutions at which terrible abuses were committed in the 1960s and the decades since.
We are experts in any issues that may arise around late claims to do with such abuse and experienced also in all other aspects of such claims.
Our dedicated team of personal injury lawyers is pursuing compensation for many individuals who were the historic victims of such abuses.