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Criminal Injury Appeal - How to appeal your CICA final decision

CICA Tribunal Appeal - How to submit an Appeal

First Tier Tribunal (Criminal injuries Compensation) Appeal process

This page explains more about how to submit an appeal if you are unhappy with a "final" decision made on your claim by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). The Appeal process can be legally complex for many and legal advice on your case is strongly recommended.

47% of Tribunal appeals were successful during the 2021/2022 period according to official statistics published by the CICA.

Criminal injury Appeal lawyers

Firstly it is worth pointing out that an appeal  is not the same as a review. There are three stages to the CICA claim process and here we focus on the final stage which involves a Tribunal appeal. If you are in dispute with the CICA but are at the review stage, we would recommend you read this page instead.

Around 18,000 cases were refused during the year 2021-2022 by the CICA according to their annual report. Many thousands of cases were subject to poor decisions or incorrect quantum / award valuations. Do the CICA make the right decision every time? Absolutely not and here we discuss what you need to do if you have received an adverse FINAL decision on your case and have come to the end of the claims handling process.

If you believe that the final decision from the CICA is unreasonable and you wish to argue your case further, you have the right to submit an appeal. All appeals are handled by the First Tier Tribunal (Criminal injuries Compensation) hereafter referred to as the FTT. Your appeal must be submitted within 3 months of the date shown on the CICA final decision letter. This is a strict deadline although an extension of time is possible in exceptional circumstances such as ill health.

Call us to discuss your case today - 01423 593002 by Whatsapp / text 07707 338965 or complete our enquiry form

3 Common reasons why a CICA final decision might be considered unfair 

  • Inadequate injury compensation award

The CICA do not always get it right when it comes to awarding victims of crime the correct level of compensation. This is usually due to not having the necessary police or medical evidence to correctly assess the case. Claims for psychological injury for example are often under-valued.

  • Timelimit or deadline issues 

A claim can be refused if an applicant misses the application deadline or does not respond in reasonable time to queries raised by the CICA.

  •  A claim for loss of earnings being refused

The current compensation scheme allows for a complicated and very limited approach to lost earnings. This can be a tricky area for applicants to deal with from an evidence perspective.

The Appeal process

According to the official reporting statistics for the year 2021/2022 which you can read here, 47% of "Appellants" (in other words the injured applicants) went on to win their appeal. This is a damning statistic and suggests that the CICA are making thousands of poor decisions each year.

It is strongly advised that you do not enter into the appeal process lightly. You must have good grounds to submit your appeal and the onus is on you as the Appellant to make your case.

An Appellant must bring evidence forward that suggests the decisions made by the CICA are unjust. It is essential that in deciding to appeal you have some grounds to do so. It is not sufficient merely to disagree with the findings; you must show that the CICA are incorrect or unfair in their assessment of your claim.

Do you need to seek legal advice or be represented?

You do not need a solicitor or legal representative to assist you in the appeal but in our view legal advice is recommended given the complexities involved in the FTT procedures. We regularly represent clients in Tribunal hearings and we can say with some confidence that it can be beneficial to have a legally trained professional advocating your interests on the day.

Submitting your appeal

You have 90 days to submit the appeal from the date of the CICA final decision letter. If you miss this deadline then it is possible to request an extension of time from the FTT but they will only extend the period if you can cite exceptional circumstances. Severe ill-health can be one such circumstance. To submit your application you must complete the FTT form which can be found on this page. Ensure that you also submit any additional evidence with this application form ie; medical reports, witness statements etc.

The initial process

The FTT will usually acknowledge your case within 28 days and also notify the CICA of your intention to appeal. There will usually be a gap in communication whilst the merits of the case and further evidence is assessed. Thereafter a date will be set for either a directions hearing (this can sometimes be a phone conference) or a final oral hearing to actually decide the case.

How long do you have to wait for the appeal hearing?

This depends on how complicated the case is and on whether further evidence is required. However we usually see appeal hearings taking place within 9 months of the FTT application.

What happens at the hearing

The FTT will try to arrange an in-person hearing close to where the Appellant lives. In recent years during and following the pandemic virtual hearings have been conducted remotely via conference based phone calls. The FTT are now leaning away from such hearings reverting to in-person sessions as before.

At all FTT hearings you will have 3 panel members sitting to assess the case; a judge, a senior solicitor and a qualified medical professional (for example a GP or psychiatrist). The CICA will also have a senior representative at the hearing to present their case or argue any points of dispute. The hearings are not designed to be adversarial but inquisitorial.

Top tips:

Be on top of the detail in your case if you intend to represent yourself on the day. Read the hearing bundle back to front a few times.

Be honest - it is always the best policy.

Provide your evidence well in advance of a hearing. Do not leave things too late.

A hearing will usually have a fixed 1 hour time slot unless the issues are complex or there are numerous witnesses to interview. In such cases it is common for a half day session to be arranged.

Appeal decisions 

Most appeals will be decided on the day and an order issued by the panel setting out the decision will be handed to the Appellant and the CICA representative. The CICA will then be expected to satisfy the order if payment of an award is agreed, within 4-6 weeks.

What if you are unhappy with the appeal decision 

Not everyone will be satisfied with the outcome of the Tribunal hearing. So what options do you have if you lose the appeal?

You have only one route to go down and that is to apply for a Judicial Review. To proceed with such a Review formal legal advice is more than likely going to be necessary as the legal process involved will be much more complicated. We are unable to offer advice on Judicial Review cases.

Call us to discuss your case today - 01423 593002 by Whatsapp / text 07707 338965 or complete our enquiry form

Run out of time to claim?

All may not be lost - See our case examples which will help you understand the time limits that apply for certain claims.

If your case involves a single one off incident you may wish to view our rape compensation page.

How to Re-open a CICA claim

If your claim was decided some time ago by the CICA and you feel the award was inadequate given for example a deteriorating injury, it is possible to ask for the matter to be re-opened.  This is however a rather difficult process and only happens in specific circumstances.  A case may be re-opened where there has been a significant change in the victim’s medical condition that was not possible to determine previously and that furthermore it would be unjust if the case was not for this reason reassessed.

This issue can quite often arise in cases involving victims of sexual abuse. If serious mental health conditions arise such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), this will not always be evident from an earlier assessment point particularly if the applicant was under 18 at the time of the original CICA settlement.

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