'Same roof' rule in criminal compensation scheme ended


An expert lawyer is calling the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) to contact all victims of crime who were affected by the ‘same roof rule’, after The Ministry of Justice announced its plan to scrap the caveat.

The ‘same roof rule’ — which was changed in 1979 but not retrospectively — will be abolished after Justice secretary David Gauke said it unfairly meant victims of historic offences could be denied the compensation their cases merited.

The rule applies to both children and adults and states that applicants are not entitled to compensation if they were living with their assailant as members of the same family at the time the abuse took place.

The plan to abolish the rule comes after the Court of Appeal ruled in July that the pre-1979 caveat had unfairly denied compensation to a claimant who was abused by her stepfather.

Peter Garsden, Partner and expert in abuse claims at Simpson Millar said: “This issue has divided families, created discrimination between siblings and produced innately unfair results for the past 40 years. It has been opposed consistently by survivor groups for many years, and has now rightfully been overruled by the courts on Human Rights grounds”.

“The question is whether it will be possible to overturn previous decisions on the point, or whether it simply applies to all future cases. We would say it absolutely should apply in all cases or it would simply perpetuate the unfairness in some cases”.

“The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority should contact all Claimants who are affected by the decision, and offer to review their cases. Here at Simpson Millar, we are reviewing any open cases which are affected by the ruling”.

The Ministry of Justice also plans to review the sustainability of the scheme, and the potential to include further offences such as grooming and victims of terrorism.

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