Church of England Redress Scheme Update

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Hywel Thomas Profile Picture
Hywel Thomas

Senior Associate Solicitor, Abuse

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In February, we published an article which provided an update on the Church of England Redress Scheme which had been approved at a meeting of the Synod in November of last year.

This scheme was brought about in order to compensate victims of institutional abuse experienced within  the Church of England. Between November and February, several updates to the scheme were issued at similar meetings.

There have been further developments since then which confirm that good progress is being made, and the framework of the scheme may be in place by the end of this year as planned. We still do not have a date when the scheme will start to accept applications or how long the scheme will be open for, though further announcements have been made recently.

In this article, we will discuss two new developments announced in March and April of 2024 in further detail below. Firstly, in March, the scheme administrators were appointed, and secondly, in April, a financial award framework was proposed.

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Appointment of Scheme Administrators

Kennedys Law have been appointed to administer the scheme.

Such an appointment is a key stage in the development of scheme. Together with the Church of England, Kennedys Law are focussed on creating a scheme that is centred around the survivor, and where everything is carried out as fairly and respectfully as possible.

Kennedys have a proven track record of administering other redress schemes and we have had excellent outcomes for many clients who have submitted applications to schemes administered by them. We therefore welcome this development.

 

Proposed Financial Award Framework

Whilst earlier announcements have given an indication of the breadth and nature of abuse that the redress scheme will cover, we now have a proposed framework for the way financial redress will be calculated.

This framework has been proposed by the Redress Project Board following consultation with victims and survivors of church related abuse as well as external experts. This will now need to be approved by the Church’s legislative process.

While the proposed framework focuses on the financial aspect of the redress, the church will also offer other forms of redress such as therapeutic and emotional support and an apology. Financial redress is therefore seen as only one aspect of the scheme.

Below is a table outlining the proposed framework, sourced from the Church of England's website. Financial redress for accepted applications under this scheme will range from £5,000 to £660,000 for the most extreme and exceptional cases.

 

There will be 4 stages in assessing financial redress:

Stage 1               Category of Abuse

Stage 2               Aggravating Factors

Stage 3               Impact of Abuse

Stage 4               A discretionary 20% uplift on the cumulative sum of stages 1 to 3

The awards made for the Category of Abuse in Stage 1 will be between £5,000 and £150,000, depending on the nature and severity of abuse experienced by the applicant. A multiplier of up to x2 of the Stage 1 award can be applied of there are any aggravating factors. Stage 3 will look at the impact of the abuse - this is likely to cover factors such as psychological or psychiatric injury resulting from the abuse and loss of earnings or opportunity as a result of the abuse. In rare and exceptional circumstances, a final discretionary uplift of up to 20% can be applied to the cumulative sum of stages 1 to 3.

At present those involved in designing the scheme are working with Kennedy’s to create a process for assessing the different types of abuse and the impact this has had, and we will have a greater understanding of what these stages will cover once this work has been completed.

 

Who will pay?

The proposed scheme includes up to £150 million in funding from the Church Commissioners. Additionally, the Board recommends that the Church Body closest in governance to where the abuse occurred should contribute to any financial redress.

Under the proposal such a contribution would be voluntary, though the plan is clearly for local churches or regional dioceses to contribute to financial redress for abuse that took place under their governance.

It may seem daunting to consider applying for compensation, especially against the institution where you were abused. Additionally, many people struggle with the financial aspects of claiming compensation, such as legal fees and other associated costs. This stress can prevent survivors from coming forward and reporting the abuse due to their fears and concerns about the financial burden.

However, with this scheme, there has been an indication that the scheme will cover legal fees for applicants. This makes the claiming process accessible, meaning that everyone who has been through this experience can make a clam, regardless of their financial situation.

 

Next steps

At this point all of the above is subject to approval, and we await further detail on the assessment criteria for the assessment of claims.

 

What steps can you take now?

Even though we do not have full details of the scheme at this point, or when the scheme will be up and running, we have already accepted instructions from victims and survivors of abuse within the Church of England. We are starting to gather evidence in readiness for submitting an application to the scheme once they start accepting applications.

We will continue to keep you updated on any changes or news on the scheme, to ensure you are equipped with all the new information as it comes. No doubt, more information will be revealed as the Church of England continues to meet and work on the scheme, until it is ready for people to apply for compensation.

Previous  announcements have indicated that the scheme will also pay an applicant’s legal costs. Therefore, we will fund any applications we handle on a "no win, no fee" basis.

 

How Can We Help?

At Simpson Millar, we're here to support you every step of the way as the scheme unfolds and when you're applying for compensation. You can count on us to stand by your side throughout.

We’re here to provide you with the highest level of legal help and advice throughout all stages of this process, in an accessible and easy to understand way.

We will continue to provide updates as to the progress of the scheme, so that you’re always updated. When the scheme is ready for applications, we’ll walk you through the process and what information you’ll need to provide, helping the process remain as simple and easy as possible. We will gather evidence on your behalf as well as guiding you through the process. We’re here to work with and for you, being in your corner at all times.

If you would like to find out about the scheme, get in touch with our friendly and helpful team today. We're here to offer assistance and support whenever you need it.

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References

Church of England, 2024. National Redress Scheme: Proposed financial award framework and approach to funding. [online] Available at: https://www.churchofengland.org/media/press-releases/national-redress-scheme-proposed-financial-award-framework-and-approach [Accessed 23 May 2024].

Church of England, n.d. Redress Scheme. [online] Available at: https://www.churchofengland.org/safeguarding/redress-scheme#na [Accessed 23 May 2024].

Church of England, 2024. Church of England announces administrator of its National Redress Scheme. [online] Available at: https://www.churchofengland.org/media/press-releases/church-england-announces-administrator-its-national-redress-scheme [Accessed 23 May 2024].

Hywel Thomas Profile Picture

Hywel Thomas

Senior Associate Solicitor, Abuse

Areas of Expertise:
Abuse Claims

With a background in Personal Injury Claims and Criminal Injury Compensation Claims, Hywel started specialising in Abuse Claims in 2001. Over the years, he has seen the area of abuse law evolve, presenting new challenges and learning opportunities. He has tackled cases against diverse groups, from local authorities to private schools, charities, medical organisations, and even individuals.

His passion for understanding psychological injuries led him to this area of Law.  Hywel's work extends beyond seeking financial compensation for his clients; he focuses on helping victims and survivors access support, making a real difference in their healing process. He values each client's unique motivations, ensuring they achieve what they desire through the legal process.

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