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Clarke outlines compensation reform

Thousands of victims will miss out on compensation under Kenneth Clarke's plans to scrap payouts for minor injuries.

The Justice Secretary's overhaul of victims' services will also see speeding drivers face higher fines, with about £20 from each ticket going towards helping victims.

Crime victims could also be given a greater say in the sentences handed down to offenders, with new guidance for judges on how their views should be taken into account.

Mr Clarke said the current system was simply "not sustainable" and would be changed to ensure victims with the most serious injuries get the help they need.

But figures for the last two years showed that more than 17,000 claims totalling in excess of £25 million for injuries including sprained ankles, broken toes and dislocated jaws would no longer qualify for compensation under the proposals. And a further 12,950 claims totalling £50 million would be reduced.

These would include payouts for brain injuries, such as minor brain damage, well-controlled epilepsy and permanent disabling dislocations and fractures, said the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) consultation document.

The amount crime victims would receive for loss of earnings could also be capped at £12,600 under the plans.

And rapists, murderers and all those who have committed crimes against others and have unspent criminal convictions will also, "in most cases, no longer be eligible to seek taxpayer compensation when others commit crimes against them", said Mr Clarke.

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (Apil) said the planned reforms were a "gross injustice". David Bott, the group's president, said the proposals "risk cutting genuine claimants off from the compensation they need and deserve".

And Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust campaign group, warned that the Government "must guard against sweeping away the rights of some victims and added that "treating those convicted of offences as a kind of subspecies is reprehensible and counterproductive".


From Belfast Telegraph