§ Mr. Squire
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether it is proposed to make any changes in the criminal injuries compensation scheme.
§ Mr. Whitelaw
The Secretary of State for Scotland and I have decided that the changes in the civil law on damages for personal injury contained in parts I and II of the Administration of Justice Act 1982, which include compensation for bereavement in England and Wales, will be reflected in awards made by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, except that so-called common law spouses and persons alleged to be married by habit and repute will continue to be ineligible for compensation under the scheme as dependants or relatives in fatal cases. These changes will apply to compensation awards in respect of injuries sustained on or after 1 January 1983. Paragraphs 15 and 16 of the scheme will be amended to read15. Where the victim has died in consequence of the injury, no compensation other than funeral expenses will be payable for the benefit of his estate, but the Board will be able to entertain applications from any person who is a dependant of the victim within the meaning of section 1(3) of the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 (other than a person described in section 1(3)(b) of that Act) or who is a relative of the victim within the meaning of Schedule 1 of the Damages (Scotland) Act 1976 (other than a person described in paragraph 1 (aa) of that Schedule). For the avoidance of doubt in Scotland "spouse" shall be construed as being the partner of a regular marriage or a marriage established by decree of declarator in the Scottish courts. Compensation will be payable in accordance with the other provisions of this Scheme to any such dependant or relative. Funeral expenses to an amount considered reasonable by the Board will be paid in appropriate cases, even where the person bearing the cost of the funeral is otherwise ineligible to claim under this Scheme. Applications may be made under this paragraph where he victim has died from his injuries even if an award has been made to the victim in his lifetime. Such cases will be subject to the conditions set out in paragraph 13 for the re-opening of cases and compensation payable to the applicant will be reduced by the amount paid to the victim.16. Where the victim has died otherwise than in consequence of the injury, the Board may make an award to such dependant or relative as is mentioned in paragraph 15 in respect of loss of wages, expenses and liabilities incurred before death as a result of the injury whether or not the application for compensation in respect of the injury has been made before the death.
In addition we have decided that, when an injury is sustained on or after 1 February 1983, compensation will be payable under the scheme only if the injury was one for which compensation of not less than £400 would be awarded. This new limit will apply also to injuries sustained before 1 February for which applications are received after 31 March 1983. The purpose of this change is to reduce the overall cost of the scheme whilst allowing for the additional expenditure on bereavement awards.