§ Mr. Murray
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what changes he proposes to make in the scheme for compensating victims of crimes of violence.
§ Sir F. Soskice
Experience has shown that there are a few applications for compensation—for example, where there is some question of the victim's responsibility for the circumstances leading to the injury—which can be fairly dealt with only by a hearing attended by the applicant. At present the initial decision on an application is taken, without a hearing, by a single member of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, and the case comes to a hearing before three other members of the Board only if the applicant is dissatisfied with the initial decision and asks for a hearing.
The Secretary of State for Scotland and I propose to amend the scheme to enable the single member, where he considers that he cannot reach a just and proper decision, himself to refer the application to three other members of the Board for a hearing. To give effect to this alteration in the procedure, paragraph 17 of the scheme (the full text of which was given in columns 90–94 of the Official Report for 24th June 1964) will be amended to read as follows:—
"17. The initial decision whether the application should be allowed (and if so, what amount of compensation should be offered), or should be rejected will normally be taken by one member of the Board, who will communicate his conclusions to the applicant; if the applicant is not satisfied with that decision, whether because no compensation is offered or because he considers the amount offered to be inadequate, he will be entitled to a hearing before three 301W other members of the Board, excluding the one who made the initial decision. It will, however, also be open to the single member, where he considers that he cannot reach a just and proper decision, himself to refer the application to three other members of the Board for a hearing".