The Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal administers the Scheme of Compensation for Personal Injuries Criminally Inflicted. Under the Terms of the Scheme, the Tribunal is entirely independent in the matter of individual decisions on applications for compensation.
Tribunal members, who are practising barristers and practising solicitors in the Courts system, provide their services on a part time basis to the Tribunal. In order to continue to allow the Tribunal to address claims as promptly as possible within the funds available, I have recently extended the term of office of 5 members pending a competition for the recruitment of new members.
The length of time taken to process an application can vary widely from case to case. Each case is addressed on the individual application. While applications are processed with the minimum of formality compared to court proceedings where compensation is being claimed, in making their decisions Tribunal Members must be satisfied that all supporting documentation submitted is in order. In some cases there can be delays pending the availability of all the required documentation and some cases are complex in terms of medical conditions. For example, in the cases of serious injury to the victim, it can take considerable amount of time before the treating consultant is in a position to give a final prognosis. It is also often necessary to await Garda reports arising from the related criminal investigation before a final decision can be made in a case. By their nature, such investigations can be lengthy and complex.
I can inform the Deputy that an assessment of the caseload of the Tribunal is currently being finalised and I expect to receive a report from my officials shortly.
I can also advise the Deputy that my Department has submitted a request for a review of the Scheme to the Law Reform Commission (LRC) for consideration in the context of its Programme of Law Reform.