12 December – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – National law firm Irwin Mitchell, which has offices in Sheffield and is representing 16 victims of the London Bombings, has accused the Government of letting down crime victims if proposals announced today are implemented.
The proposals aim to look at how those affected by crime are compensated.
Irwin Mitchell is providing free legal services to the London victims of the July 7 bombings and welcomes the planned abolition of an upper limit of compensation for the most severely injured victims.
However, the firm is calling for the original scheme to be restored which prior to 1996 did not have the current limits in place. Irwin Mitchell also argue that along with a return to the original scheme, there should be more money made available to ensure the majority of crime victims, those who suffer less serious injuries, are still eligible for compensation.
Under the new proposals announced today those victims who suffer ‘lesser’ injuries would not be eligible for any compensation.
John Pickering, a partner with Irwin Mitchell based at the firm’s Riverside offices in Sheffield, said: “We have been calling for some time for the Government to look again at the whole system of compensating people who have suffered due to criminal activity. However, I’m disappointed that more money has not been made available. We’re not talking about people tripping over on a pavement, these are victims of crime and the majority of people who suffer following a criminal act will now receive nothing.
“We’re very pleased that abolition on an upper limit on compensation costs is being considered, but these are the minority of cases. When an elderly man or woman is mugged in the street, tackled to the floor and receives severe bruising and damaged ribs they would, under the plans announced today, not be eligible for any compensation. On top of the physical injuries there are the mental scars to consider in such cases and the money claimed goes a long way in helping a person’s rehabilitation after a criminal act.”
Recent criticism of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) has centred on the time it has taken to pay out to victims of the London Bombings and other terrorist attacks, with victims of the Admiral Duncan attack in Soho waiting over six years for compensation payments, even those with the most serious injuries.
Mr Pickering said: “We hope that within the consultation paper there will also be recommendations on how payments can be speeded up to ensure that people who suffer severe injuries are compensated when they need the money most, directly following an incident.”