Not every criminal injury claim is successful at the first stage. For a variety of different reasons, claimants can find that their application to CICA is turned down, or that the amount of compensation they have been offered is much lower than they had expected. For this reason, the criminal injury compensation process has a number of built in processes for challenging decisions with which you do not agree.
Apply For A Review Of Your Claim
The first step is to apply for a review of your claim within CICA itself. You must do this within 90 days of receiving the original decision. You should explain why you think the decision was wrong or unfair, and point out any factual inaccuracies or misunderstandings of your situation which you think may have led to a refusal of your claim. Your application will then be looked at afresh by another CICA officer, who will not have had any involvement in your claim until now. This will be done ‘on the papers’, as with the original application, so you will not be able to put your case in person. CICA’s final decision will then be sent to you by letter.
Appealing After An Unsuccessful Review
If you are still unsatisfied with CICA’s decision and the reasoning which has led to it, you will be able to appeal to the First Tier Tribunal (Criminal Injuries Compensation). This is an independent arm of the Tribunal Service, which has responsibility for overseeing criminal injury claim decisions, and particularly the way in which CICA implements the statutory legislation in this area. If you wish to appeal, however, you will need to apply within 90 days of receiving your final review decision letter from CICA. The Tribunal can extend the time for appeals, but rarely does so unless there is a very good reason.
You do not require a lawyer to bring an appeal to the Tribunal, although it is best to seek some form of legal advice at this stage. You cannot simply win an appeal because you view CICA’s decision as unfair. They must have misapplied some element of their statutory duty, or misunderstood your situation, if you are to succeed at the Tribunal. CICA will lodge a response following your appeal, and you will then have a further period of one month to lodge any further documents to address their reasoning. After this, the Tribunal will either invite you to a hearing, or make a decision on the papers. If you do need to attend a hearing, you will be able to claim travel expenses, as long as you can produce evidence and your spending is within reason! In most cases, the decision of the Tribunal judge will be final. In very rare instances, you may be able to seek judicial review of the Tribunal’s decision via the Upper Tribunal, but if you are involved in such a case you should certainly seek legal advice before progressing any further.
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