HL Deb 31 October 1995 vol 566 cc1383-405

(". The Scheme shall provide for the calculation of the standard award for a person who has sustained two or more criminal injuries (provided each of these would otherwise attract a Tariff award at level 12 or above) to be made—

  1. (a) for the most serious injury, at the full standard amount for that injury determined in accordance with the Tariff;
  2. (b) for the next most serious injury, at 50 per cent. of the standard amount; and
  3. (c) for the third most serious injury, at 25 per cent. of the standard amount.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, we debated the issue of multiple injuries at some length in Committee. I am not returning with the same proposition. I return to the matter, however, because outstanding questions arise from the consideration of multiple injuries in the tariff as at present drafted.

We proposed in Committee that there should be special consideration for multiple injuries at level 7 and above. We are now saying that there should be special consideration other than that presently proposed for injuries at level 12 and above. Examples of injuries at level 12 would be, for instance (taken at random), serious disfigurement of the face from scarring or permanently impaired balance as a result of injury to the skull. Both of those injuries would give rise to compensation of £7,500 and so on to larger amounts.

In Committee, we queried whether the proposal to give for a second injury 10 per cent. of the award that would otherwise he made, for a third injury 5 per cent. of the award that would otherwise be made and for any subsequent injury nothing at all was just. It was clear that the decision was arbitrary. I do not deny that the 50 per cent. that we propose for the second injury and 25 per cent. for the third are also arbitrary. The justification for the 10 per cent. and 5 per cent. has been given; namely, they arise from the sampling process. That may well be so. But the numbers of cases in the 20,000 sample of multiple injuries, and certainly the number of cases of multiple injuries at level 12 or above, will be so small that the sampling process is quite inadequate.

When we were told that the 10 per cent. and 5 per cent. were generous in relation to the findings of the sampling process, it was admitted that the sampling process had covered injuries at all levels, right down to the minimum level of £1,000. Therefore I do not believe that evidence from the 20,000 sample is at all relevant to the case that we put forward. It is not based on sampling; it is based on a common sense recognition that people who have two or more injuries as serious as the two examples that I gave—and there are dozens, if not hundreds, more in the tariff—will be seriously affected.

Quite apart from anything else, if there is more than one injury at that level, the trauma of the physical attack itself may not be recognised as a trauma under the provisions for shock. It may not be psychiatrically diagnosed; or there may be no psychiatric prognosis. However, it must still be pretty serious. It must have been a violent occasion when the injury took place, and it must have had a very considerable effect on the victim's future, on his or her self-confidence and ability to lead a normal life.

Therefore, without claiming anything magical for the figures in particular, I draw attention to the differences between this and the amendment that we put forward in Committee. I draw attention to the fact that we refer only to quite serious criminal injuries. I suggest that the suggested levels of 50 per cent. and 25 per cent. are much more realistic and much more in accordance with what we know to be the case.

Finally, on a point about public expenditure, it was made clear that the numbers with multiple injuries are quite small. The numbers of multiple injuries at level 12 and above will clearly be very small. I suggest that the public expenditure consideration will not he of great import. I beg to move.

Lord Carlisle of Bucklow

My Lords, very briefly, I support the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, on this amendment. When we debated this matter in Committee, I suggested to the Minister that in the cases decided under the tariff scheme that we had to review we found that the one area of real unfairness was the way in which the approach to multiple injuries had worked in practice. Of course I accept that originally the proposals were based on a review of awards by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. But in most multiple injury cases, two injuries are related to each other. A second injury may mean very little difference compared with the original injury. In other words, if you have a broken nose and a scar on the lip, although there are two injuries, the second injury may have little effect.

The noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, refers to a case where there are two major injuries which of their nature are likely to be totally distinct. For example, to take level 12 in the tariff, it seems very hard to say that the person who is partially permanently blind in one eye and at the same time has a fracture of both femurs should receive only 10 per cent. of what would be reasonable compensation for the fracture of both femurs. The fact is, such an injury will be just as grave to him whether or not he has been partially blinded in the same attack. Therefore I hope that the Government will be sympathetic to the aims of this amendment. I hope that they will try before Third Reading to come forward with a proposal that is more generous than the 10 per cent. and 5 per cent. levels that presently exist, and particularly where the types of injury are completely distinct rather than in any way related to each other.

Lord Ackner

My Lords, I, too, support the amendment. The second injury may prove, by reason of the first injury, to be more disabling than it would have been on its own, and a fortiori the third injury because the vulnerability of the person injured has been increased by the second injury and increased again by the third. There can therefore be circumstances where even the 50 per cent. and 25 per cent. amounts will be poor compensation. To keep to the Government's figures is to add insult to injury.

5.30 p.m.

The Lord Advocate (Lord Rodger of Earlsferry)

My Lords, as the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, said, we had considerable discussion on this matter in Committee. At that stage my noble friend made it clear that there could be no question of assessing multiple injuries other than on the basis of the tariff and that the formula proposed in this draft scheme had been chosen after careful analysis of the data obtained from the extensive sampling exercise undertaken to set the original tariff.

I recognise that the amendment deals with a rather more limited range of injuries. Nonetheless, it is right to stress that the figures that have been put in, which on the face of it may be thought by some of your Lordships to appear slightly mean, have not been arrived at by some whim. They have been put in as a result of a study and analysis of the practice of the board. That shows that there is little evidence that multiple injuries have led to larger awards. In fact, as was said on the last occasion, the median award for two more serious multiple injuries was in fact less than the median award for one such injury. Three injuries or more produced median awards only 10 per cent. higher.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

My Lords, perhaps the noble Lord will allow me to intervene. Is he saying that the analysis which he describes was of more serious injuries? I thought that the analysis was of all qualifying injuries.

Lord Rodger of Earlsferry

My Lords, the multiple injuries were what we were concerned with.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

My Lords, is that at all levels?

Lord Rodger of Earlsferry

My Lords, the median award for two more serious multiple injuries was in fact less than the median award for one such injury. That is what the study showed.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

What, my Lords, does the Minister mean by "more serious"? At what level is it more serious?

Lord Rodger of Earlsferry

My Lords, at the moment I cannot give that to your Lordships by reference to one of the levels of the tariff. Maybe I shall be able to do so if the information is made available.

In order to make quite sure that this was not some freak that had been thrown up by the analysis, care was also taken to consider the Judicial Studies Board's approach to damages for multiple injuries. The guidelines there also showed that in cases of multiple injury, most of the award was made for the most serious injury with very little added on for additional lesser injuries. That explains why the formula that is in the scheme has been adopted. It is even possible to say, in the light of the analysis, that the formula errs on the side of generosity. I am informed that more serious injuries were those which attracted an award of more than £1,000.

It has been said, and stressed by my noble friend Lord Carlisle, that there may be cases where there are two very disparate injuries—for example, the loss of an arm and a leg. It was perhaps that kind of situation also that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Ackner, had in mind. I accept that that is so. But it is also right to say that a study of the pattern of injuries dealt with in the scheme shows that such injuries are in fact extremely rare and far more often the injuries are closely connected. Therefore, it is on that basis that we have proceeded.

If, on the other hand, such a rare combination of injuries were to arise and either the authority or indeed the appeals panel felt that they should be included as a new category of injury—in the same way, for example, as the loss of one leg and the loss of two legs are regarded as separate categories of injuries in the proposed scheme—the authority is quite free to make an appropriate recommendation to the Secretary of State in terms of paragraph 20 of the draft scheme. If my right honourable friend shares that view, he can then invite Parliament to add the new injury description to the tariff. In the meantime, the authority will he able, in terms of paragraph 21, to make an interim award of up to half the amount which was recommended as the appropriate tariff for the new injury.

It was also said that the financial consequences of adopting the noble Lord's amendment would not be great. But I am not going to put any great stress on it. But it is fair to say that the estimate is that it would add another £2 million annually to the cost of the scheme. That is not a great amount in the overall context, but when one is dealing with various claims for funds to be used in various ways it is nonetheless a sum which we cannot overlook.

We have said—we have made no secret of the fact—that a major intention of the Bill is indeed to keep the costs of the scheme under control. Inevitably, that involves some compromises. This is one area where we believe that overall the balance of the scheme is right, the matter having been dealt with, as I indicated, on an analysis of the practice of the board hitherto.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

My Lords, that was an extraordinary answer. First of all, the Minister attempted to say that his analysis was of more serious injuries. When challenged, he had to admit that it was not an analysis of more serious injuries but an analysis of all injuries from band 1; in other words, all those included in the tariff which is £1,000. The brief ought not to have used the phrase "more serious" when in fact it relates to all injuries in the tariff.

Secondly, the Minister said that those multiple injuries were extremely rare. We knew that. That is the basis on which I said that there was no significant increase in public expenditure. Particularly at level 12 and above, which is what I was talking about in the amendment, they will be extremely rare. They will be a tiny proportion of the multiple injuries at level 1 and above, which include multiple minor injuries, that the Minister was analysing to give support to his conclusion that 10 per cent. and 5 per cent. were generous figures.

I am afraid that the analysis simply does not add up as an answer to the case that has been put. It certainly does not add up to combine in the same answer the admission that these cases are extremely rare and the claim, the estimate, that the cost will be £2 million. I do not believe that the Government could possibly know that it will cost £2 million. I do not believe that they have done an analysis of multiple injuries at level 12 and above. To be fair, I do not think that they have had time to do it since the amendment was tabled. If they had done an analysis of the multiple injuries at level 12 and above, they should have been able to come forward with an estimate of what the awards would have been under a common law scheme.

No, the answer is self-contradictory. It does not hang together at all. I am sorely tempted to take the opinion of the House on the matter. In fact, I shall do so.

5.39 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 11) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 66; Not-Contents, 131.

Division No. 3
Ackner, L. [Teller] Healey, L.
Addington, L. Hollis of Heigham, B.
Airedale, L. Hylton, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L. Hylton-Foster, B.
Bancroft, L. Jenkins of Hillhead, L.
Barnett, L. Jenkins of Putney, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. Kilbracken, L.
Blackstone, B. Kintore, E.
Broadbridge, L. Kirkhill, L.
Brookes, L. Lockwood, B.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L. McIntosh of Haringey, L.
Callaghan of Cardiff, L. McNair, L.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L. Mallalieu, B.
Clinton-Davis, L. Merlyn-Rees, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L. Monkswell, L.
Craigavon, V. Monson, L.
Dean of Beswick, L. Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Derwent, L. Nelson, E.
Donoughue, L. Nicol, B.
Dormand of Easington, L. ogmore, L.
Dubs, L. [Teller] Rea, L.
Falkland, V. Richard, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B. Robertson of Oakridge, L.
Geraint, L. Rochester, L.
Gladwin of clee, L. Seear, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L. Sefton of Garston, L.
Grey, E. Slim, V.
Harris of Greenwich, L. Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Haskel, L. Strabolgi, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B. Wigoder, L.
Thomson of Monifieth, L. Williams of Elvel, L.
Tordoff, L. Winchilsea and Nottingham, E.
White, B. Young of Dartington, L.
Addison, V. Layton, L.
Ailsa, M. Leigh, L.
Alexander of Tunis, E. Liverpool, E.
Ashbourne, L. Long, V.
Astor of Hever, L. Lucas, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L. Lyell, L.
Blake, L. McColl of Dulwich, L.
Blatch, B. Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Boardman, L. Mackay of Clashfern, L.[Lord chancellor.]
Boyd-Carpenter, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L. Massereene and Ferrard, V.
Brookeborough, V. Melville, V.
Brougham and Vaux, L. Mersey, V.
Burton, L. Miller of Hendon, B.
Butterwoith, L. Monk Bretton, L.
Cadman, L. Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Campbell of Alloway, L. Mountevans, L.
Chalker of Wallasey, B. Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Chaiteris of Amisfield, L. Munster, E.
Chesham, L.[Teller.] Newall, L.
Clark of Kempstoan, L. Norrie, L.
Clinton, L. Northesk, E.
Courtown, E. O'Cathaian, B.
Cranborne, V. [Lord Privy Seal.] Oxfuird, V.
Crickhowell, L. Parkinson, L.
Cross, V. Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Cumberlege, B. Pender, L.
Davidson, V. Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Dean of Harptree, L. Prentice, L.
Demon of Wakefield, B. Rankeillour, L.
Dilhorne, V. Rawlings, B.
Dixon-Smith, L. Rawlinson of Ewell, L.
Downshire, M. Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, L.
Eccles of Moulton, B. Renton, L.
Eden of Winton, L. Renwick, L.
Ellenborough, L. Rodger of Earlsferry, L.
Elles, B. Romney, E.
Elton, L. St. Davids, V.
Fairhaven, L. Saint Oswald, L.
Ferrers, E. Sanderson of Bowden, L.
Finsberg, L. Seccombe, B.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L. Sharples, B.
Gardner of Parkes, B. Shaw of Northstead, L.
Goold, L. Skelmersdale, L.
Goschen, V. Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Gray of Contin, L. Stanley of Alderley, L.
Grimston of Westbury, L. Stevens of Ludgate, L.
Harding of Petherton, L. Stodart of Leaston, L.
Harmar-Nicholls, L. Stokes, L.
Harmsworth, L. Strathcarron, L.
Hayhoe, L. Strathclyde, L. [Teller.]
Henley, L. Sudeley, L.
Hertford, M. Tebbit, L.
Hogg, B. Teynham, L.
Holderness, L. Thomas of Gwydir, L.
HolmPatrick, L. Torphichen, L.
Hood, V. Tugendhat, L.
Hooper, B. Ullswater, V.
Hothfield, L. Vestey, L.
Howe, E. Vivian, L.
Huntly, M. Wade of Chorlton, L.
Inglewood, L. Wakeham, L.
Ironside, L. Westbury, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L. Wise, L.
Kimball, L. Wyatt of Weeford, L.
Kingsland, L. Wynford, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

5.48 p.m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 12:

After Clause 3, insert the following new clause—


(".—(1) If an application for compensation is made in respect of an injury for which no provision is made in the Tariff, but which appears to the claims officer to be sufficiently serious to qualify for at least the minimum award, the claims officer shall refer that application to the chairman of the body of adjudicators appointed under section 5(3) for determination.

(2) The chairman of the body of adjudicators may make a recommendation to the Secretary of State as to the amount of compensation which that injury should attract if subsequently included in the Tariff.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, Amendment No. 12 returns in a different way to an issue which was debated at some length in Committee. I refer to the issue of injuries for which no provision was made in the tariff; that is, for gaps in the tariff.

The scheme recognises that gaps will inevitably arise in the tariff. There is no shame in that or reason for disagreement about it. The number of injuries recognised by the tariff has increased, from 187 to 310, since the first tariff was drawn up in 1994. There is no doubt that that process will continue as we refine our understanding of the nature of injury to the human body. It will certainly continue if the Law Commission report on psychiatric injury results in a completely new range of mental injuries in addition to the physical injuries already recognised in the tariff.

The scheme makes provision for those injuries. It makes provision for when a judgment is taken by those running the scheme that an interim payment should be made of 50 per cent. of what is considered to be the relevant amount under the tariff. There is then a procedure for consideration as to whether the new injury should be included in the tariff and, if so, at what band. There is a provision also—it is not entirely ungenerous—that if it is decided that such an injury should not be included and therefore there should not have been a payment, the 50 per cent. payment will not be taken away; but that if such an injury should be included and it is given a band higher than the amount already paid, the amount shall be paid at a higher rate.

So far, so good. It is a reasonable first stab at an attempt to compensate for injuries which are not already included in the tariff. What we are suggested here is that it could be done better. Without in any way breaking the rules under which the tariff is set up and administered under the scheme, we are suggesting that the claims officer, the person at the first level responsible for identifying this new injury, shall refer that application to the chairman of the body of adjudicators… for determination". In other words, the chairman of the body of adjudicators shall determine that particular application and make an appropriate payment. The second part of the amendment states: The chairman of the body of adjudicators may make a recommendation to the Secretary of State as to the amount of compensation which that injury should attract if subsequently included in the Tariff". In other words, the payment has been made; it has been made in good faith; it has been made at the highest possible level within the system; and the way is open for amendments to the tariff to be introduced with the leave of Parliament if the matter is considered sufficiently important.

It is not a matter of enormous importance. I do not suppose that new injuries will appear on the tariff more than perhaps half a dozen times a year. The amounts of money concerned are not very great. But what we suggest enables a swift determination of a claim which is thought by the chairman of the body of adjudicators to be reasonable to be made; and it enables the full amount which is thought by the chairman of the body of adjudicators to be reasonable to be paid without delay to the person making the claim, without waiting, as the scheme presently provides, for parliamentary approval before the second 50 per cent. of the final amount is paid to the individual. In other words, parliamentary delays should not be the occasion for delays in payment to the applicant—to the victim of crime.

I suggest to your Lordships that there is no significant effect on public expenditure but I suggest also that there is a worthwhile improvement to the practical way in which the scheme is administered and thought to be just. I beg to move.

Lord Airedale

My Lords, the admitted gap in the tariff is liable to occur because of the sheer pace of medical research and the need to invent new medical terms to describe the new medical discoveries. We do not want a situation where the tariff is admittedly lagging behind but the application is refused because the language in which the applicant's doctor describes his injury is in terms which have not yet arrived on the tariff. We need an interim period to deal with this little problem. That is why we on this side of the House consider that an amendment of this kind is necessary.

Lord Rodger of Earlsferry

My Lords, as the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh of Haringey, indicated, there was some debate on this matter at Committee stage. What I shall say will reflect much of what was said then. Everyone recognises that from time to time—presumably especially in the earlier years—some novelty will come to light which has not been provided for and where it will be necessary, therefore, to have some new entry in the tariff scheme. We all recognise that. It is also recognised that a means has to be devised for dealing with those matters.

The approach taken in the amendment is to suggest that such a matter would be referred to the chairman of the body of adjudicators, who would determine it and who might at least subsequently make a recommendation to the Secretary of State as to the amount of the compensation. The scheme envisaged in the amendment would involve a decision being taken by the chairman of the body of adjudicators. As has been said on a number of occasions, we take the view that there should be a clear distinction and separation between the initial decision-making process and the appeals process. The authority alone must be responsible for the initial decision and any decision taken in review. The appeals panel is then fully at liberty to consider any subsequent appeal by the claimant without the impediment of any earlier involvement in the initial decision-making process. We consider that such a demarcation line is of importance.

What is also involved in this line in the amendment is that someone who came forward would be given an award merely on the decision of the chairman of the body of adjudicators, who might not necessarily get it right. For example, the award might not eventually be incorporated in the scheme when the matter was put to the Secretary of State and then before Parliament. When we are dealing with the tariff scheme it does not seem right that any individual should get an award which is different from that which is subsequently approved by Parliament. The scheme envisages a way of dealing with this matter, which is that the person can be awarded half of what is thought to be the appropriate award and then, when the matter is subsequently dealt with by the Secretary of State and Parliament, if the award is confirmed the amount recommended will be paid. Even if it turns out to be less than what he has been awarded, he is entitled to keep it.

As the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, said, there is in the scheme some measure of generosity. I think that we are here trading off what might be a slightly swifter resolution of any particular case with the desirability that in all cases there should be awarded a sum which has been approved as the appropriate sum by the Secretary of State and by Parliament. We think that the scheme as envisaged is more satisfactory than that which is envisaged in the amendment.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

My Lords, the Lord Advocate says that the chairman of the body of adjudicators may not get it right. That is true. The Government have been insistent throughout that many of these awards may not be right. There is no absolute standard of rightness. What we are trying to do in all of these things is to make the best of a bad job.

The tariff is being adopted, as opposed to the common law scheme, because it is thought to be quicker and easier to understand and because it is the basis on which there can be a better control of public expenditure. We have accepted all those arguments and we have accepted at the same time that there is no such thing as an absolute test of rightness for any particular award. What we are saying here is that it is possible to make improvements in the tariff scheme, even within the context of the tariff scheme. The improvement which we suggest, which enables a determination to be made at the highest administrative or quasi-judicial level possible without reference to Parliament, is fairer to the applicant than forcing the applicant to wait, in all probability for 50 per cent. of his award, until Parliament has given approval to an amendment of the scheme. That is the only point we are making. It is not an issue on which to divide the House although I still believe that it is right. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

6 p.m.

Lord Archer of Sandwell moved Amendment No. 13:

After Clause 3, insert the following new clause—


(".—(1) Where, at the time when the injuries which are the subject of the application were sustained, the applicant and any person responsible for those injuries (whether or not that person actually inflicted them) were living in the same household as members of the same family, an award will be withheld unless the person responsible has been prosecuted in connection with the offence, except where the person determining the claim considers that there are good reasons why a prosecution has not been brought.

(2) For the purposes of this section, a man and a woman living together as husband and wife shall be treated as members of the same family.").

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, this is another amendment, which in form is an amendment to the Bill, but its purpose is to seek to improve the scheme. I paraphrase paragraph 15 of the scheme which says that where the victim and the person responsible for the injuries were living in the same house as members of the same family, then an award will be withheld unless the person responsible has been prosecuted.

The scheme states in paragraph 15(b) that, in the case of violence between adults in the family, the claims officer is satisfied that the applicant and the person responsible stopped living in the same household before the application was made and are unlikely to share the same household again". Your Lordships will have observed by now that our amendment repeats what is in that paragraph, but omits paragraph 15(b). As I understand it, the reasoning behind paragraph 15(b) is that if the victim of domestic violence is compensated for an injury by someone with whom he or she is living as a spouse or a partner, then the perpetrator of the offence is likely to benefit from the compensation. We understand that and have no quarrel with any safeguard designed to ensure, as far as possible, that that does not happen.

The provision as it is now formulated ignores the present situation relating to living accommodation. If someone who has been assaulted by a partner could simply leave the house and find accommodation elsewhere, there would be no real problem. However, finding other accommodation at an affordable rent is no simple matter. Unhappily, the days are past when the local council was possessed of a substantial housing stock and could make accommodation available. Not only are the regulations governing housing benefit designed not to provide a rent at a moment's notice, but the Government's proposal will bear hardest on those who have already been dealt a rough hand. For that reason we hope that the Government will think again about a provision which will have the effect not of encouraging the victim to leave the home, but of depriving the victim of compensation because she cannot leave the home. I beg to move.

Lord Stewartby

My Lords, I hesitate to display my ignorance in such august legal company as Members of your Lordships' House who are considering the Bill. But as a layman in this subject, I was a little surprised to see the wording of the amendment. It states that, For the purposes of this section, a man and a woman living together as husband and wife shall be treated as members of the same family". Is that something which has to be spelled out? Under what circumstances would they not be treated as members of the same family? The noble and learned Lord referred to paragraph 15(b). Does the position have to be explicitly stated in this legislation?

Lord Rodger of Earlsferry

My Lords, the issue was debated on a previous occasion. The position which we have adopted in the draft scheme is that which was adopted in all versions of the scheme since 1979. It resulted from a report by an inter-departmental working party which reported on the scheme as it existed in 1978 and analysed the various problems. The recommendations were accepted by the then Labour Home Secretary and implemented by the Conservative Government of 1979. Those provisions have been in existence since then.

I recognise that there can be occasions when it is difficult for, let us say, the woman to leave the home where she has been subjected to violence. I fully understand that. Nonetheless, if she is someone who is subjected to violence and a domineering husband, and she remains in the home, those are precisely the circumstances—and there is no getting away from it—where it is likely that any award which she obtained would not go to benefit her, but would be liable to be taken over and used by the man whose violence caused the award to be made in the first place. It is because of the grave risk that the perpetrator of the crime would benefit by it that the rule was introduced and maintained. I accept that there may be cases where the provision works somewhat harshly in the circumstances which have been mentioned. However, overall we believe that the rule is right for the reasons which we have given.

As for the particular form of the amendment, it is partly because it is an Opposition amendment. It is often useful to have to say exactly in what circumstances people are regarded as living in the same family.

Lord Archer of Sandwell

My Lords, I trust that the noble Lord, Lord Stewartby, was not asking the Opposition to translate the wording because it comes from the scheme, and those are the Government's words. The noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate is right in that the words are hallowed by having been used over a long period. What has changed is not the meaning of the words, but the housing situation against which they have to be considered. The fact is that in the past it would not have been impossible for the victim to find other accommodation at a rent which was within the victim's means. Unhappily, that is no longer true.

I agree that we have to set against that the argument very properly used by the noble and learned Lord, that an award may be taken away by the perpetrator of the offence. It may be that together we can find a formula which will enable the claims officer, or whoever was dealing with the claim, to take into account whether that was likely to happen. Because there is this difficulty—we have to steer a course between Scylla and Charybdis—I certainly would not wish to persevere with the amendment today. I hope that the noble and learned Lord will indicate that the Government have taken on board the difficulty to which we seek to draw attention. It may well be that together we can find a course which will meet those difficulties. For the moment I am content to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Archer of Sandwell moved Amendment No. 14:

After Clause 3, insert the following new clause—


(". Where the applicant has lost earnings or earning capacity for longer than 28 weeks as a direct consequence of the injury or, if not normally employed, is incapacitated to a similar extent, additional compensation in respect of special expenses, payable from the date of the injury shall be awarded for—

  1. (a) loss or damage, as a direct consequence of the injury, to property or equipment belonging to the applicant on which the applicant relied as a physical aid;
  2. (b) the cost other than by way of loss of earnings or earning capacity of attending for medical or dental treatment;
  3. (c) the cost of private medical or dental treatment, hut only if the person determining the award considers that, in all the circumstances, both the private treatment and the cost of it are reasonable;
  4. (d) the reasonable cost of special equipment or adaptations to the applicant's accommodation or of care, whether in a residential establishment or at home, which are not provided or available from the National Health Service, local authorities or any other agency free of charge, provided that the person determining the award considers such measures to be necessary as a direct consequence of the criminal injury; and
  5. (e) where the care referred to in paragraph (d) above is or has been provided for no or nominal payment by a relative of the applicant which relative has suffered financial or other detriment as a consequence of the provision of such care, the award of special expenses shall be made in such sum as the person determining the award considers reasonably reflects that financial or other detriment.").

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, again, this amendment raises a principle which was discussed in Committee, again in terms which are an amendment to the Bill, but intended to improve the scheme. We simply seek to repeat what is in paragraph 23 of the scheme about special expenses. We do so with the addition this time, and not the omission, of a further provision in our subsection (e). Our intention is to meet the situation where a victim requires care in consequence of the injury and that care is provided by a relative without charge. The victim has suffered no financial loss in respect of the care and cannot be compensated for that under the scheme, but the relative who has provided the care may have suffered loss. He or she may have lost remunerative employment. That is not a loss to the victim, but in compassion and common sense it seems something that should he compensated for under the scheme.

If the relative had charged for providing care, that would presumably be recoverable under paragraph (d) as a reasonable cost of care. As drafted, the scheme will have one or other of two consequences, both of which one would have thought were to be avoided. It will encourage relatives to make a formal charge for providing care—that would be artificial and counter-productive to the Government's declared aim of encouraging stronger family bonds—or it will encourage relatives to refuse to provide care, leaving the victim to employ professional carers who may well charge more than the relative. The victim will then claim that as an expense under paragraph (d), so the expense of the scheme will be greater. In Committee the noble Baroness said that the scheme was not intended to include peripheral loss, but I think that it was agreed between us eventually that this is not a peripheral loss. However, in so far as it is a peripheral loss, that is precisely what paragraph 23 seeks to provide—and rightly. It would be monstrous if it failed to do so.

We simply seek to eliminate an irrational distinction between the care provided by a neighbour or professional who makes a charge and the care provided by a relative who, because he or she is a relative, does not make a charge. That seems to be a distinction which is based on no rational principle. I beg to move.

Lord Rodger of Earlsferry

My Lords, it is always a pleasure for me to be able to give something to the noble and learned Lord in reply to his eloquence and I am happy to be in that position on this occasion. We have received a number of comments on the provisions of the draft scheme particularly in relation to the care that is provided free or at nominal cost by a relative or friend. As was said in Committee, we had considered that that element was covered by the draft scheme. However, to put the matter beyond doubt, the relevant passage in the next draft will be amended to make it clear that unpaid care provided by a relative or friend of the victim—I am thus able to go a little further than the noble and learned Lord asks—can be compensated. I hope that in the light of that assurance the noble and learned Lord will withdraw his amendment.

Lord Archer of Sandwell

My Lords, it is a pleasure doing business with the noble and learned Lord. I am happy to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 5 [Appeals]:

[Amendments Nos. 15 to 17 not moved.]

6.15 p.m.

Lord Ackner moved Amendment No. 18:

Page 3, line 43, at end insert (";and (c) for such appeals to be determined only after oral representations by or on behalf of the applicant if the applicant so desires.").

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, this is an attempt to breathe a little compassion and humanity into this admittedly inflexible piece of legislation. It seeks to provide that, where an applicant desires oral representation, he shall be entitled to have it. I urged such a provision in Committee, but unsuccessfully. I said at the end of my observations then that I would withdraw the amendment with a view to reading the exact justification and that I might return to the charge. I have re-read the observations and I have taken considerable heart from what I have read because the usual resistance to this type of amendment giving an automatic right to an oral hearing is that it opens the floodgates and therefore makes the administrative position impossible. Fortunately, that is not the case here because the noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate said: Let me say straight away that we envisage that in the vast majority of cases an oral hearing would be heard by the panel".— [Official Report, 17/10/95; col. 716.] Therefore, we are not dealing with floodgates; we are dealing with the vast minority, which is the consequence of having been told that the vast majority will be covered by the oral hearing.

Therefore, the only resistance which is put up is the simple resistance, which was again provided by the noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate, who said that it was envisaged that there might be "unmeritorious" cases where there would he a requirement for such a hearing.

The noble and learned Lord indicated that that would be the plain and clear case in which there was clearly no viable right of appeal.

In the course of my submissions on the last occasion I sought to recall the wise words of Mr. Justice Megarry, who himself was dealing with that very contention in a case, the contention being that, the result is obvious from the start". The case for which I was searching was that of John v. Rees in 1970 Chancery 345, at page 402, where the learned judge said: As everybody who has anything to do with the law well knows, the path of the law is strewn with examples of open and shut cases which, somehow, were not; of unanswerable charges which, in the event, were completely answered; of inexplicable conduct which was fully explained; of fixed and unalterable determinations that, by discussion, suffered a change".

We are dealing with a body of would-be applicants, many of whom are not highly articulate and who will have difficulty in setting out in writing with any great clarity their grounds of appeal. Those who are dealing with such cases will no doubt become highly professional in their approach. The noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate said (again at col. 716) that, if that automatic right was given, it would involve, a great deal of time and energy on a matter which could not succeed". I have dealt with the proposition "which could not succeed", but surely, a great deal of time and energy", is an extraordinary observation. The notice of appeal ex hypothesi reveals that there is no arguable case. That will appear in a minority of cases. You can group them together in a day or week and, if you have any tact or expertise, you can say to the applicant, "We should very much like to help you, but the tact of the matter is that we have no power to do so because …" and, if that is spelt out simply, that is the end of the matter. It might take a couple of minutes. You might be able to deal with 20 cases conveniently in an hour. That means that one can deal with 100 cases quite simply in a day. Where is the great deal of time and energy"?

In my respectful submission, once one accepts the wise words of the noble Baroness—that this legislation inevitably does rough justice—one tries one's best to make the roughness acceptable—and acceptable to an injured person. In those circumstances, it is not asking a very great deal to permit this automatic right.

The Government have been at pains by reference to other countries—and with some justification—to pat themselves on the back for their generous approach to this area of compensation. For this amendment to be permitted, it is not asking for that generosity to be extended to any great degree. Stirred on by the helpful observation of the noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate about the vast majority getting a right of appeal, I suggest that this amendment is not straining generosity. I beg to move.

Lord Campbell of Alloway

My Lords, there has been discussion and correspondence between myself and my noble friend the Minister about my proposals at Committee stage to amend the draft scheme to reflect the spirit of this amendment. My noble friend has explained and amplified the objections of my noble and learned friend Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, with whom I took issue. There is no amendment on the Marshalled List to implement my proposals, which seem to me—and, informally, to some of your Lordships—not to be wholly unreasonable. But it is not possible to carry in such an amendment, as far as I am aware, to a draft scheme which is still in draft.

The argument to be advanced by my noble friend the Minister is understood, albeit with reluctance. It is conceded that the spirit of the amendment of the noble and learned Lord is not without attraction. It is said, however, that the great majority of appeals will be about eligibility as distinct from quantum but that where eligibility is established and compensation is refused, to afford an oral hearing would be no more than a false gesture affording and generating a false expectation. I am not so sure, and I think Mr. Justice Megarry would share my doubts.

There are also questions which will be put forward as to detriment to expedition and the question of resources relevant to an estimated 10,000 oral hearings a year, the cost of which includes the reimbursement of the appellant's travelling expenses. So, although this has an element—and a strong element—of administrative convenience in it, it cannot fairly be said to be exclusively related to administrative convenience.

In any event, my proposals are not acceptable. They were advanced on the basis that I could not support the amendment of the noble and learned Lord which carried the right of this oral hearing onto the face of the Bill. I have already given the reasons, which were advanced in Committee (Hansard col. 715), and that remains my position today. I cannot pretend that the situation is entirely satisfactory.

Lord Airedale

My Lords, in my limited experience a litigant is inclined to go home and say, "I lost my case but at least I had my say". That is a great consolation to him, and for that reason I suggest that the amendment of the noble and learned Lord is to be welcomed.

Lord Archer of Sandwell

My Lords, I would like to add a word of support to the noble and learned Lord. Your Lordships may recollect that under the Asylum and Immigration Appeals Act 1993 an asylum seeker who is refused asylum may appeal to a special adjudicator. At the time of the Bill the Government sought to say that, if the Secretary of State certified that the appeal was without foundation, it should be dismissed without a hearing. In the face of widespread representations, the Government relented. Schedule 2, paragraph 5, of the Act now provides that, if the Secretary of State certifies that the appeal is without foundation, that issue is itself tried at an oral hearing before a special adjudicator.

I have been privileged to attend some of those hearings. They work fairly and no one suggests that they occasion undue delay. I would like to know—and, as I have not given the noble and learned Lord notice of the question, I fully understand if he cannot answer today—what proportion of those appeals from a certificate that they are without foundation actually transpire to he without foundation. One thing of which I am pretty certain is that there are some. They are not all found to be without foundation. If the question arises at a later stage in our deliberations, perhaps those statistics may be available.

I do not believe that without an oral hearing any appeal can be said to be without foundation. Certainly to say it to the proposed appellant will do exactly what the noble Lord said a few moments ago—it will send the appellant away convinced that he has not had a hearing.

Lord Carlisle of Bucklow

My Lords, the proposal that appeals should be refused without a hearing is one that we have at the moment under the criminal injuries compensation scheme. We have had it for the past few years, and in relation to the whole of the criminal justice scheme it has been shown to have its advantages. I think I am right in saying that there were 644 cases last year where applications for a hearing were refused and no hearing took place. We get a great number of very frivolous and hopeless applications, partly because we have no sanctions against anyone who choses to make an application. I therefore accept that the power has to some extent been useful.

I notice that for the first time in the new scheme there will be a power against frivolous applications. In future if in the opinion of the adjudicator an appeal is frivolous or vexatious, he can reduce the amount of compensation to be awarded by such amount as considered appropriate. In the long run that will prove a greater deterrent than the refusal of any hearing at all.

Lord Rodger of Earlsferry

My Lords, we are considering this evening a matter which the noble and learned Lord, Lord Ackner, raised on a previous occasion. As I said on a previous occasion, I understand very well the thinking behind the noble and learned Lord's amendment. Nevertheless, having given the matter due consideration between the Committee stage and now, the Government feel bound to maintain our position, that this amendment should not be accepted.

We think that there should not be a universal right to an oral hearing for the reasons I explained on the previous occasion—and they are reflected in the remarks of my noble friend Lord Carlisle—that there are presented, and will be presented in the future, appeals which are simply without foundation. I fully accept that history shows—and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Ackner, quoted a passage which talks of this, and we all know of cases—that people have succeeded when initially it was thought that they could not succeed. But that having been said, there plainly are cases where the appeal is hopeless because the person does not meet the eligibility rules. A clear example might be where an injury occurred abroad. I take an extreme example. The question in such cases is whether an oral hearing is a proper way of dealing with the matter.

The noble and learned Lord said that the hearing would not need to last long. On his analysis, we might get through 20 such hearings an hour, which looks as though they would take, on average, three minutes. To invite someone to attend, perhaps raising that person's expectations, and then to deliver the judgment and put him out within three minutes is unlikely to go far in assuaging his feeling that he has been hardly done by.

It is open to question whether a system such as that envisaged by the noble and learned Lord would help in the way that he suggests. As he said, I do not put a great deal of stress on the number of such hearings because I believe that they would not be large. It is not a question of 10,000 hearings but 10,000 hearings altogether. The figure will be more like the one of which my noble friend spoke. We feel that it would not be likely to assist the feeling of disappointment which the noble and learned Lord is seeking to assuage.

Against that, we have to set the fact that, although the number will not be large, such cases will, nonetheless, occupy part of the new body's time which could be used to deal with and dispose of more meritorious appeals. Taking an overall view, we believe that it is not right to have a universal right to make oral representations, but we anticipate—I repeat this—that in the vast majority of cases a hearing will be held. We believe in that situation the balance is right. I cannot reply to the question about figures asked by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Archer, but I dare say that I can find them and write to him.

6.30 p.m.

Lord Ackner

My Lords, I observe from the reply from the noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate that he is no longer saying that to allow such an appeal would involve a great deal of time and energy. If that had been his continued case, the answer would be simple. If it turned out that a great deal of time and energy was being wasted on meritless appeals, the scheme could be altered. There could be a negative resolution explaining that that is why automatic appeal was going to be withdrawn.

Secondly, the suggestion has been made that this would be no solace to the appellant who went away having failed in his appeal. I do not know how things are done in Scotland. My recollection and experience are down here. Having sat for three years in the court of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, and having heard the way litigants in person were easily dealt with in three minutes by a simple, courteous explanation as to why the remedy being sought could not be given, and having observed that they queued up for the opportunity of appearing before him and having lost went away with a song in their heart, it seems to me that that type of situation can easily be dealt with here because we are dealing with a narrow subject in which the officials concerned should become expert very quickly.

This is a most ungenerous reaction to a situation where the very decisions themselves, even though justified, will in many cases cause deep resentment, and to let that resentment fester will merely mean that, quite unfairly, the scheme will get a tarnished reputation which could so easily be avoided.

I do not propose to divide the House. I am satisfied that I have won the debate in your Lordships' Chamber, and that if I put it to the test noble Lords would come in their scores, wondering what it was all about and asking which way they should go to vote—perhaps not the best form of democracy. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 19 to 22 not moved.]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 23:

After Clause 7, insert the following new clause—


(". Where the calculation of an additional amount of compensation requires a calculation of future financial loss, that calculation shall be made by reference to the actuarial tables (together with explanatory notes) for use in personal injury and fatal accident cases issued from time to time by the Government Actuary's Department.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, we had a somewhat inconclusive debate on this issue in Committee. The amendment is concerned with the calculation of future financial loss. The basis upon which the scheme proposes that future financial loss shall be calculated is by means of a note to the scheme which sets out years in five-year bands and multipliers in a diminishing proportion.

I am not enough of an algebraist to he able to turn that into a algebraic formula, although there must be such an algebraic formula. Fortunately, I do not need to because there are perfectly good actuarial tables which exist for that purpose (the Ogden tables). They could perfectly well have been used.

In opposition to that alternative it was urged that that would be long and complicated, that the tables covered many pages and that they had not yet been used in legislation because the Civil Evidence Bill, of which they form part, had not at the time we discussed the matter been through Parliament. I answer that point in a number of ways. First, when the crude table in the note to the scheme was criticised we were told, "Oh, we did not really need it. It is only going to be used as a guideline. It is not actually going to be used for calculation. It will simply give the adjudicator an idea of what sort of amounts should finally be awarded". I thought that the whole purpose of the Bill was to avoid such discretion and to make the scheme as simple to administer as possible; so I was not impressed by that argument. You do not put down a table which is expressed in mathematical terms and then say, "We are not really going to use it".

On the second point, I looked again at the Ogden tables. In their full form they contain a large number of tables and they could be complicated, although people use them successfully. However, we would not need to use all of them for this purpose because we would need to take only a particular example and incorporate it in the scheme, or in the note to the scheme, to use it for the purposes of the Bill.

On the third point, I was told that, although the tables exist and it is proposed that they be included in legislation, the Civil Evidence Bill has not yet been passed. I looked up the Civil Evidence Bill, and here I am puzzled, because on examining the progress of government legislation I found the Civil Evidence Bill was supposed to have reached its final stage in the other place yesterday. It would have been legislation by now, although it would not have received Royal Assent until next week. When I looked in Hansard yesterday I could find no reference to the Civil Evidence Bill and I wondered whether it was lost. I wonder whether anyone knows what has happened to it because, according to the timetable of future business that I was given, it should have received its Report stage and closing stages on 30th October. I was told, "We would not like to lead in this matter. We would not like this to be the first Bill to put down tables of this kind in legislation". Does it matter?

The point is that it has been accepted that these tables are going to be used in legislation. It is capable of being accepted that they can be used for this purpose in a simplified form. It is clear that even if the Civil Evidence Bill did not achieve its Report and Third Reading yesterday it will be enacted in that form. I should have thought that common sense would indicate that we should now enact in the scheme a formula which works and which can be adhered to rather than something that is so crude as to be only a guideline. I beg to move.

Lord Rodger of Earlsferry

My Lords, we considered most carefully what was said by your Lordships in Committee and what was said in consultation on the new scheme. As a result, I am pleased to be able to tell the House that a number of changes will be made to the relevant parts of the draft scheme. The next draft will therefore illustrate not only the approach to the calculation of future loss with greater clarity—that is, the multiplier and multiplicand tables will be set out more fully, as we discussed—but also and perhaps most importantly it will stipulate that reference may be made to the actuarial tables as defined in this amendment. It will not state that they must be used but that reference may be made to them. When the missing Bill is found it will be seen that it does not prescribe that the Ogden tables have to be used but merely that reference may be made to them. I do not believe that on this issue it matters whether we shall be in the lead or behind but your Lordships have the reassurance that the actuarial tables will be available.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

My Lords, I believe that that is the best that I am going to get and it is certainly an advance on what we were told in Committee. I am grateful to the Minister and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

6.45 p.m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 24:

After Clause 8, insert the following new clause—


(".—(1) Where for the purposes of providing a qualifying award an annuity is purchased from an authorised insurance company within the meaning of the Policyholders Protection Act 1975, sections 10 and 11 of that Act (protection in the event of liquidation of insurer) shall have effect as if any reference to ninety per cent. of the amount of the liability, of any future benefit or of the value attributed to the policy were a reference to the full amount of the liability, benefit or value.

(2) In this section "qualifying award" has the same meaning as that given in section 329C(1) of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this issue was not raised in Committee because it had not then been drawn to my attention. Your Lordships will know, because you read of such things every day with your morning tea and toast, that the Law Commission in its report Structured Settlements and Interim and Provisional Damages (Command Paper 2646) made a number of recommendations about the treatment of structured settlements, in particular about the protection provided by the Policy Holders Protection Act 1975. That Act ensures that policy holders receive 90 per cent. of the sums due under an annuity in the event that the life assurance company goes into liquidation. The Law Commission recommended that the proportion protected should be extended to the full 100 per cent. in the case of annuities purchased for the purposes of providing a structured settlement.

It will be argued that the matter should be dealt with as part of a comprehensive damages Bill, which incorporates all of the Law Commission's recommendations. However, we have a case in which injustice is occurring and which could be put right with relatively little difficulty in the context of this Bill. I shall refer to only one case; that of Philip Anthony Johns. In an accident in 1989 he received serious spinal injuries resulting in permanent paraplegia. In 1992 he received an award of £479,000, plus contributory negligence. Of that amount £202,000 was structured, producing an annuity of about £800 per month.

The insurer, who insured the defendant, was Municipal General Insurance Company Limited. It went into voluntary liquidation in 1994 and declared a claims payment moratorium. At the point of settling the case it had purchased an annuity from Sun Life for the sum of £202,000, which was the structured part, and it continued to receive the monthly payments due under the annuity. Every attempt has been made to recover the money for Mr. Johns but every potentially legally responsible body refuses to accept any duty, whether legal or moral, to ensure that the insurance industry, which continues to receive the benefit of the annuity contract, pays out Mr. Johns. The liquidator is joined in that refusal. The matter will come before the court in the spring of next year. That is a particular case of an injustice which needs to be put right.

In the course of the past week and since I tabled the amendment, we have received a press notice from the Department of Trade and Industry. The President of the Board of Trade has announced that he will make changes to the Policy Holders Protection Act 1975, including provision for 100 per cent. protection in the case of an annuity provider failing in the context of a structured settlement. He has said that the amendments will require primary legislation which he will bring forward when parliamentary time permits.

It may be thought unsatisfactory for such matters to be dealt with piecemeal. However, when a particular source of injustice can be corrected now in line with a Law Commission report and the Government's response to it, I believe that we should seize the opportunity. The amendment will do no harm whatever to the structure and content of the Bill and will provide a real benefit for a small number of people. I beg to move.

Lord Rodger of Earlsferry

My Lords, the Policy Holders Protection Act 1975 provides a system of compensation for certain policy holders of failed insurance companies. It is administered by the Policy Holders Protection Board. As the noble Lord indicated, if an insurance company goes into liquidation the board is required to arrange that insurance liabilities to policyholders are met in full where insurance is compulsory. For private non-compulsory general insurance and long-term life assurance policies the board is required to secure the payment of 90 per cent. of outstanding claims and to arrange continuity of life insurance with benefits at 90 per cent.

On 23rd October my right honourable friend the President of the Board of Trade announced the Government's intention of extending the 1975 Act to provide structured settlement beneficiaries with 100 per cent. protection. I can say that the Government intend to seek an early opportunity to do that. Nonetheless, as the noble Lord rather anticipated, we take the view that this particular amendment would extend 100 per cent. protection to annuities purchased under this scheme and would amount to singling out awards under this particular scheme. We do not believe that that approach is right. It would give special treatment in the case of criminal injuries compensation awards by anticipating a legislative change which is to be made in respect of structured settlements as a whole.

On the basis that the Government intend to seek an early opportunity to bring in legislation to extend the protection in the way that I have indicated, I ask the noble Lord to withdraw the amendment.

Lord Harris of Greenwich

My Lords, before the noble and learned Lord sits down, is he indicating that the Government intend to produce this legislation in the next parliamentary Session? If he is not giving that undertaking, he will realise that, if the amendment is not carried today, the interests of victims of crime could be jeopardised seriously for a significant period ahead?

Lord Rodger of Earlsferry

My Lords, the noble Lord knows that I cannot anticipate the contents of the Queen's Speech or go further than that which I have stated. However, I reiterate that the Government intend to seek an early opportunity to introduce legislation.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

My Lords, I fail to see the logic of the Government's attitude. They have accepted that something is wrong and that the Royal Commission is right in its prescription of what is wrong. They have accepted that it must be put right. They are now saying that it can be put right only when it can be put right for everybody. This is a clear case which could be put right now for perhaps a limited number of people. It would not be at government expense because it would be a reform within the rules of the insurance industry. That could be done and nobody would suffer at all. I do not believe that anybody who has to wait for the rest of the legislation will object if victims of crime, who are supposed to be high on the Conservative Party's list of priorities, were given a little precedence and were allowed to have what is accepted to be right before the rest of those who have structured settlements.

Lord Carlisle of Bucklow

My Lords, will the noble Lord accept that we do not even have power at present to make any structured settlements at all and that therefore there cannot be any victims under the criminal injuries compensation scheme who are in that situation?

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

My Lords, that is a different point. Nobody denies that the scheme which is proposed with the inclusion of structured settlements is an improvement on the previous scheme. That has always been said and we have said so from these Benches in our response to the scheme as a whole. That is not the same point.

The point is that, when there are structured settlements, they can be improved. The Government are missing an opportunity to do that. I do not say that the Government will fall on this issue but they are significantly failing victims of crime when they could help them. I very much regret the Government's response. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 9 [Financial provisions]:

[Amendment No. 25 not moved.]

Clause 10 [Jurisdiction of Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration]:

[Amendment No. 26 not moved.]

Clause 11 [Parliamentary control]:

[Amendment No. 27 not moved.]