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Lord Rodger of Earlsferry: The amendment as printed on the Marshalled List refers to those people appointed under subsection(3)(c) who are members of staff. Members of staff serve administrative functions. There is no need for them to be trained in Scots law or

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any other system of law. I believe that the noble Lord was dealing with the question of those who adjudicate upon matters. That is dealt with in paragraph (a).

Some of the members of the appeals panel will be appointed by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Scotland. It is envisaged that seven or eight of the appeals panel members out of a membership of between 40 and 50 will be appointed by him. I believe the noble Lord knows that the practice has always been to appoint members of the legal profession of Scotland to the scheme. It is the intention that that should continue to be the practice: that there will indeed be members of the legal profession of Scotland appointed to the new appeals panel. In the light of that explanation, I hope that the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw the amendment.

Lord Macaulay of Bragar: I am grateful to the noble and learned Lord for that explanation. It is a somewhat fast ball that the amendment refers to paragraph (a) rather than paragraph (c). I hope that the undertaking that there will be a place for the special standing of the Scottish legal system within the administration of the criminal injuries compensation scheme will be noted in the appropriate places. In the light of the undertaking given by the noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 54 and 55 not moved.]

Lord Rodger of Earlsferry moved Amendment No. 56:

Page 4, line 34, leave out ("under this section").

The noble and learned Lord said: This is a technical amendment. Clause 5(9) makes it clear beyond doubt that the scheme may include provision for adjudicators to reduce awards where they consider that an appeal is frivolous or vexatious. This minor technical amendment to delete the words "under this section" is necessary since appeals are not in fact determined under the Act itself, but in accordance with the provisions of the scheme which is to be made under the powers conferred by Clause 1 of the Act. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

6.30 p.m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 57:

Page 4, line 34, at end insert ("and the applicant had received warning prior to the determination of the appeal that the appeal was at risk of being considered so to be").

The noble Lord said: This is a relatively minor amendment which relates to the provision under Clause 5(9) which provides for a reduction of the amount of compensation if in the opinion of the adjudicator,

    "the appeal is frivolous or vexatious".

We do not object to that; the principle is common in law and valuable. But the scheme is liable to deal with a large number of people who have little experience of the law or of the kind of procedures which the scheme will involve for them. It seems not unreasonable for the appellant to be given a warning if the appeal is at risk

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of being considered to be "frivolous or vexatious". It is not a point of great importance, but one which the Government may wish to take on board. I beg to move.

Lord Rodger of Earlsferry: I am grateful to the noble Lord for raising the matter on which one may wish to reflect as to how it may be handled in practice. As the noble Lord will appreciate and as was indicated earlier on, there will be cases where the decision to dismiss the appeal will be taken at an earlier stage without a hearing. The appeal will appear to be vexatious right from the outset and therefore one will have to warn the people before they put in the appeal. In another case the fact that it was vexatious might only appear during the hearing, for example, where the appeal was based on the idea that a person had no previous conviction, whereas the claim had been determined on the basis that he had. In the course of the hearing, when it became apparent that he had a conviction and the appeal was therefore completely unfounded and he was acting fraudulently, that would be the most appropriate point at which to warn him. There are difficulties in knowing how to deal with the problem.

It seems to me that we should draw attention to the matter in the guide which will be provided for the Act. However, when people are sent the form which allows them to appeal, it might be advisable for a leaflet accompanying it to contain a warning, or for a warning to be on the face of the form about the provision. There are various ways of dealing with the point. We would wish to reflect on it and it should be dealt with administratively. We have thought about the point and will wish to consider it further to ascertain how it can best be dealt with.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: That seems reasonable to me and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 5, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 6 and 7 agreed to.

[Amendment No. 58 not moved.]

Clause 8 [Annuities]:

Baroness Blatch moved Amendment No. 59:

Page 6, line 11, at end insert—
("(3) In this section "the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme" means—
(a) the scheme established by arrangements made under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act 1995; or
(b) arrangements made by the Secretary of State for compensation for criminal injuries and in operation at any time before the commencement of that scheme." ").

The noble Baroness said: This amendment fulfils the promise made in another place to extend the benefits of structured settlements to applicants under the current, common law damages scheme (or any previous version of it) whose claims have not yet been settled.

As the Committee knows, structured settlements can be a highly advantageous way of paying compensation to victims in higher value cases. It affords them the option of receiving their award, not as a lump sum, but in the form of a stream of periodic payments under an

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annuity. These payments will be tax-free, and can be index-linked, thereby providing guaranteed payments for life, or other specified period.

Under the Bill as it stands, that facility would only be available to claimants under the new, enhanced tariff scheme to be made under the Bill's powers. This amendment will extend that facility to claimants under the present scheme by widening the definition of the words,

    "the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme".

This amendment will necessitate a complementary change to the 1990 scheme to allow payment of compensation by the purchase of annuities. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State will make the necessary change to the 1990 scheme on the day this Bill receives Royal Assent. He will confirm this in the usual way by Written Statement in the other place. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 8, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 9 agreed to.

Baroness Blatch moved Amendment No. 60:

After Clause 9 insert the following new Clause—

Jurisdiction of Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration

(".—(1) In the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967, insert after section 11A—
"The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme.
11B.—(1) For the purposes of this Act, administrative functions exercisable by an administrator of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme ("Scheme functions") shall be taken to be administrative functions of a government department to which this Act applies.
(2) For the purposes of this section, the following are administrators of the Scheme—
(a) a claims officer appointed under section 3(4)(b) of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act 1995;
(b) a person appointed under section 5(3)(c) of that Act;
(c) the Scheme manager, as defined by section 1(4) of that Act, and any person assigned by him to exercise functions in relation to the Scheme.
(3) The principal officer in relation to any complaint made in respect of any action taken in respect of Scheme functions is—
(a) in the case of action taken by a claims officer, such person as may from time to time be designated by the Secretary of State for the purposes of this paragraph;
(b) in the case of action taken by a person appointed under section 5(3)(c) of the Act of 1995, the chairman appointed by the Secretary of State under section 5(3)(b) of that Act; or
(c) in the case of action taken by the Scheme manager or by any other person mentioned in subsection (2)(c) of this section, the Scheme manager.
(4) The conduct of an investigation under this Act in respect of any action taken in respect of Scheme functions shall not affect—
(a) any action so taken; or
(b) any power or duty of any person to take further action with respect to any matters subject to investigation."
(2) In Schedule 3 to the Act of 1967 (matters not subject to investigation), insert after paragraph 6B—
"6C. Action taken by any person appointed under section 5(3)(c) of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act 1995, so far as that action is taken at the direction, or on the authority (whether express or implied), of any person acting in his capacity as an adjudicator appointed under section 5 of that Act to determine appeals."
(3) The amendments made by this section do not affect the following provisions of this Act—

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(a) section 3(5)(b);
(b) section 3(7)(b);
(c) section 5(4)(b).").

The noble Baroness said: During the earlier stages of this Bill we gave an undertaking, in another place, that we would consider carefully whether the administration of the new scheme should be subject to investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration—more commonly known as the ombudsman. We concluded that it should, and this new clause gives effect to that decision.

We firmly intend that the new scheme should be run as effectively and efficiently as possible, and mechanisms will be built in to facilitate this. For instance, the authority will be required to set standards of performance and targets, and will have to report on how it has measured up to them in its annual report. There will also be a fully developed and effective complaints procedure, so that claimants who feel their case has been badly handled can make a formal complaint in the sure expectation that it will be speedily and properly investigated.

But, despite that, we accept that applicants who believe their case has been subject to maladministration should have a means of seeking external reassurance. That is why we agree that the ombudsman should be allowed to investigate such cases.

The ombudsman will not of course be able to investigate the merits of the decision taken in any case. That is not his role, and he is specifically precluded from doing so by the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967. But he will be able to investigate the administrative actions of the staff taking those decisions, and report as to whether there was, or was not, any maladministration in their handling of the case. I beg to move.

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