If you are unhappy with a decision made by the CICA, there are some ways you can challenge that decision in the hope of overturning it. The first of these would be to try and get the case re-opened, though this only happens in specific circumstances. A case may be re-opened where there has been a significant change in the victim’s medical condition and it would be unjust if the case was not reopened. This is quite common in cases involving the victims of sexual abuse.
If you disagree with the decision made by the CICA you can apply for a review of your claim. This must be done within 56 days of the original decision having been made. Evidence supporting your wish for a review should be included in your written application. When that application is received by the CICA a claims officer will consider the case, though those applying for a review should be aware that the review decision could result in a higher payment, a lower payment or no change; so all options remain open to the claims officer.
If you are still left unsatisfied following a review then you can appeal the decision, which will go to the First Tier Tribunal, the part of the Tribunal Service which rules on criminal injury claims. This will have to be done within 90 days of you receiving the final review decision letter from the CICA.
It is essential that, in deciding to review, you have some grounds to do so. It is not sufficient merely to disagree with the findings; you must show that the authority has misapplied an element of their statutory duty or has misunderstood the situation.
Once you have appealed, giving your reasons for doing so, the CICA will issue a response and you will then have a month in which to lodge any further documentary evidence. The tribunal will then decide the case, either on the papers in which case you will not need to attend or they will invite you to a hearing and a representative of the CICA would probably be present too.
The decision of the tribunal judge will be final but in exceptional cases you may be able to seek a judicial review of the tribunal’s decision.
All may not be lost – See our case examples which will help you understand the time limits that apply for certain claims.