COMPENSATION TO CRIME VICTIMS
Green paper: Compensation to crime victims.
||28 September 2001
|Forwarded to the Council:
||28 September 2001
|Deposited in Parliament:
||21 November 2001|
|Basis of consideration:
||EM of 30 November 2001
|Previous Committee Report:
|To be discussed in Council:
||Cleared, but further information requested
The Green Paper and the Government's views
13.1 The Green Paper on compensation to
crime victims invites views on whether there should be a common
minimum standard across the EU for state-paid compensation for
crime victims, and, if so, what elements should be included. It
also seeks views on ways of helping "cross-border" victims
(those who suffer injury or loss in a Member State other than
the one in which they normally live) to obtain compensation.
13.2 The Parliamentary Under- Secretary
of State at the Home Office (Mr Bob Ainsworth) tells us that the
Home Secretary and the Ministers of the Scottish Executive are
jointly responsible for oversight of the Great Britain Criminal
Injuries Compensation Scheme and, subject to parliamentary approval,
for setting the scheme rules. The scheme is administered by the
Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and the Criminal Injuries
Compensation Appeals Panel, an independent appellate body. There
is a separate scheme in Northern Ireland which is the responsibility
of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
13.3 The Minister continues:
"Great Britain has had a criminal injuries compensation
scheme since 1964, far longer than all other Member States....The
consultation paper confirms (at paragraph 3.8) that the Great
Britain Scheme remains by far the most generous in the EU, paying
out more compensation than all the other EU countries added together.
The Northern Ireland Scheme is also very generous by EU standards.
"A principal aim of the consultation document
is to encourage Member States to consider adopting common minimum
standards for compensating victims of crime who sustain injury
in the member state. The standard might cover eligibility to compensation,
what basic elements of compensation might be paid, and whether
compensation from other sources or the applicant's conduct or
behaviour should be taken into account.
"Since both UK schemes are already generous
by comparison to other EU schemes, it seems unlikely that
any minimum common standard(s) that might eventually be adopted
could not be readily accommodated by the Great Britain Scheme
or the Northern Ireland Scheme without extending their scope or
"The consultation paper also invites views on
improving arrangements for helping 'cross-border' victims of crime
.... Under the Great Britain Scheme anyone sustaining injury in
Great Britain is eligible to apply, but British nationals or residents
injured abroad must look for compensation to the state where the
offence occurred or to insurance arrangements. A number of other
EU states have broadly similar arrangements.
"Against that background, the consultation document
asks whether Member States would be prepared to consider arrangements
to facilitate the transmission of applications from [their] nationals
or residents to another Member State, and/or themselves pay compensation
to [their] nationals or residents injured in another member state.
These ideas may be less susceptible to consensus than a minimum
common standard, and the Government will wish to see how the consultation
develops. Any arrangement that added to the cost of the UK schemes
would not be acceptable."
13.4 The Minister also tells us that the
Government mounted a major public consultation exercise on the
Great Britain Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme in 1999. This
led to a package of improvements in April 2001, but the territorial
scope of the scheme was left unchanged. The Government has stated
more than once that the cost and the difficulty of investigating
applications arising from incidents in other countries make it
unwilling to extend the scope. It does not propose to consult
on the Green Paper, since it already knows the views of those
who seek further changes to the Great Britain scheme. The Commission
has asked Member States to submit responses to the 15 questions
in the paper before 31 January 2002.
13.5 It appears likely that the issue
of compensation for "cross-border" victims will provoke
the most divergent views, and, like the Government, we will be
interested in the outcome of the consultation on this matter.
13.6 We ask the Minister whether the
Ministers of the Scottish Executive and the Secretary of State
for Northern Ireland will contribute to the Government's response
to the Green Paper. We also ask to see a copy of the response.
13.7 We clear the document.