Case Summary


Citation 1993  QBD  Unreported 
Decision Date 19/11/1993
Scheme Pre-tariff Schemes
Paragraph Number 12, 15, 19
Keywords Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 1979 – Paragraphs 12, 15, 19 - Compensation – Procedure – Fatal Award – Fatal Accidents Acts - Child dependents - Deductions - Insurance policy - Apportionment between dependents
Headnote Summary of decision: Criminal injuries compensation awards payable to dependent children were to be calculated separately so as not to be subject to the deduction of insurance monies paid to their father consequent upon their mother’s death. Facts B applied for compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (‘the Board’) on behalf of himself and his two children following the murder of his wife, the children’s mother. A total award of £96,347 was made, comprising an award based on the costs of a nanny or live-in helper, plus a housekeeper for B once the children’s dependency lessened, a sum for the “special care” provided to the children by their mother and sums for gardening and other development work on the family home. Of this sum, only £5,500 was awarded to the children in respect of the special care provided by their mother and the balance was held to be for B’s benefit. B’s share was then held to be subject to the deduction of the value of insurance monies from a policy to which he had contributed jointly with the mother. The Board deducted one half of the £166,000 insurance monies from B’s award under paragraph 19 of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 1979, on the grounds that B did not have to give credit for insurance personally effected by him. B applied for judicial review of the Board’s decision on the grounds that the total award had been wrongly apportioned as between himself and the children. Held, allowing the application and remitting the case: (1) In determining the claim, each of the dependants was entitled to have their claim approached on the basis of common law damages, under paragraph 12 of the Scheme. In this case, that meant in accordance with the principles on which the courts have awarded damages pursuant to the Fatal Accidents Acts over the years. (2) Under the Fatal Accidents Acts, each dependent is entitled to have his or her own claim assessed separately, but in practice an overall figure for the dependency is usually calculated and then apportioned. The pragmatic approach of the courts in dependency claims to apportion the bulk of the award to a parent so as to provide as much money in free cash terms for the parent caring for the child was inappropriate in these circumstances. (3) In this case, the claim for compensation in respect of each child dependant should be calculated and treated as distinct from that of B so that their awards would not stand to be depleted by the insurance monies paid to B. (4) The case should be remitted to the Board for a recalculation of the awards. Parts of the scheme and other legislation referred to in judgment: Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 1979, paragraphs 12, 15, 19 Fatal Accidents Act 1976 Representation: Mr J Harvey, instructed by Messers John J Smith, Middlesex, for B. Mr P Kilcoyne, instructed by the Treasury Solicitor, for the Board.
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