What is a Compensation Order?
Compensation orders were first introduced in 1972 and have been an important sentencing option for the courts — they are meant to both punish the offender and provide a degree of financial recompense to the victim; they are not intended to make good the loss.
Where such an order is made it removes the need for victims to sue for compensation through the civil courts. As in setting any financial penalty, the courts must have regard to the circumstances of the offence and the offender, including their ability to pay the sum awarded. Offenders are usually allowed time to pay, and to pay by instalments.
Where offenders have other financial penalties issued by the court, such as a fine or costs order, the compensation order has priority.
What is the process?
A victim will only receive the compensation after the offender has paid the money into court, and efforts are therefore made by the court towards getting the offender to comply with the order. If you are a victim of violent crime and have suffered a loss, damage or injury, you may be entitled to compensation. However, it is the court’s duty to consider whether a compensation order should be imposed.
Enforcement of orders:
Enforcement of orders is when the defendant has failed to pay the amount owed to the victim. If this occurs the court has the right to enforce the order. The decision on any enforcement action is for the court to make, in the light of all the circumstances of the case. Under present legislation, the courts can order that deductions be taken from an employed person’s earnings or, if the offender is unemployed, from certain state benefits; they can also issue a warrant of distress, which instructs bailiffs to seize and sell goods belonging to the offender up to the value of the compensation order and any related costs.
Two further methods of enforcement are the clamping of an offender’s vehicle and the inclusion of the unpaid compensation order on a register of fines and judgments that is open to public inspection, which may have a bearing on the offender’s ability to get credit, housing and other services. The ultimate sanction is a period in custody for non-payment.
If you have any questions about compensation orders or the way in which it will be paid to you, you should contact the clerk of the court. Do not contact the offender directly.
Further information on compensation
I’m a Victim of Crime — how do I claim compensation?
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme
If you have been injured because of a crime of violence you can apply for compensation under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority administers the criminal injuries compensation scheme.
The Scheme allows financial awards to be made:
- to recognise the injuries, physical and mental, caused by a crime of violence;
- in certain circumstances, to compensate for past or future lost earnings or special expenses caused by such a crime;
- for bereavement as a result of a crime of violence, including, in some cases, compensation for lost earnings of the person who has been killed.
The scheme deals with injuries suffered in Great Britain – that is, England, Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland has its own scheme.
Further information on the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme
Your local branch of Victim Support can explain how you make your claim. They can give you an application form and guidance documents and can help you fill out the form and submit the application.