Law Report: No compensation for child sex abuse: Regina v Home Secretary and Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, ex parte P and another - Court of Appeal (Lord Justice Neill, Lord Justice Evans and Lord Justice Peter Gibson) 4 May 1994
The Court of Appeal affirmed the decision of the Queen's Bench Divisional Court on 28 April 1993, rejecting applications by two women, referred to as P and G, for judicial review of decisions by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board to reject their claims for compensation for sex abuse offences committed by their stepfathers during their childhood, prior to 1 October 1979.
The scheme, introduced in 1964 to compensate victims of violent crime, initially excluded offences committed against persons in the same household as the offender. But following revisions in 1979, and again in 1990, compensation thereafter became payable for such offences if committed after 1 October 1979.
The applicants argued that it was arbitrary, irrational, unjust and unfair to maintain in force the inflexible pre-1979 'same roof' rule, which prevented persons such as the applicants obtaining proper compensation.
The court was unanimous in rejecting the applicants' claims of irrationality; but Lord Justice Neill dissented on the question whether the Home Secretary's decision was subject to review in the first place.
Lord Lester of Herne Hill QC and Elizabeth Woodcraft (Maureen Foster, Newcastle City Law Centre, and Evans Butler Wade) for the applicants; Guy Sankey QC and Michael Kent (Treasury Solicitor) for the respondents.
LORD JUSTICE NEILL said the decisions in issue involved a balance of competing claims on the public purse and the allocation of economic resources which the court was ill-equipped to deal with.
The Home Secretary had to make a judgment as to how to allocate the resources at his disposal. His decision to continue the pre-1979 exclusion could not be regarded as a 'justiciable' issue of the sort to which the judicial process was adapted to provide the right answer: see CCSU v Minister for Civil Service (1985) AC 374 at 408, per Lord Diplock.
But in any event, his Lordship saw no material on which the court could decide that no Secretary of State acting rationally could have maintained in force the pre-1979 rule in respect of claims for offences committed before 1979.
LORD JUSTICE EVANS agreed that the appeals should be dismissed because the applicants had failed to prove the charge of irrationality, but differed on the justiciability issue.
The fact that the scheme might be described as the distribution of 'bounty' on behalf of the Crown and that moneys were granted to the Home Office by Parliament for this purpose, could not be regarded either as justifying an unfair or irrational scheme, if such was the case, or as precluding the courts from exercising their constitutional powers of judicial review in an appropriate case.
LORD JUSTICE PETER GIBSON agreed that the Home Secretary's decision was susceptible to judicial review but that the applicants had failed to prove irrationality.
game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers
North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama
Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Oxygen-starved 'dead zones' with no marine life up to 100-miles long discovered in the Atlantic Ocean
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 3 Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
- 4 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 5 Tory activist asked to step down after Labour candidate Rupa Huq is 'manhandled' while questioning Boris Johnson on the campaign trail
The C-Word - review: Sheridan Smith shines in a warm, honest adaptation of Lisa Lynch's book about living with cancer
X-Men Apocalypse: First look at Jubilee and Jean Grey played by Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner
American Horror Story: Hotel Angela Bassett set to make 'lots of trouble' with Lady Gaga in season 5
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 4 - review: Sansa is in danger of becoming another footnote in Westeros' bloody history
Adam Sandler's The Ridiculous Six: Make-up 'used to darken skin of actors to make them look Native American'
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils