Jimmy Savile victims win Court of Appeal ruling to approve controversial compensation scheme

Scheme will see victims receive as much as £40,000 each for the worst sex abuses

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The Independent Online

A disputed scheme to provide compensation for the sex abuse victims of the disgraced TV presenter Jimmy Savile has been sanctioned by the Court of Appeal.

Lawyers representing the victims had claimed that it provided the best opportunity for money from the former DJ's estate to be shared among those he assaulted, without vast sums being lost to legal fees.

But the scheme, which will see victims receive between £1,000 and £40,000 depending on the severity of their abuse, was criticised by the Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust as failing to assess the "validity" of individual claims.

The charity is the major beneficiary of Savile's estate, and said the scheme lacked a "process of evaluation". It was also critical of the amount it claimed was due to be received by the victims' lawyers.

Three appeal judges gave their verdict today after a charity which is the major beneficiary of Savile's estate raised concerns about the scheme.

Three appeal judges analysed arguments at a hearing in London last month and delivered a ruling today, backing a series of rulings by a High Court judge.

Mr Justice Sales sanctioned the compensation scheme - despite objections from the trust - following a High Court hearing in London in February. He also allowed Natwest to remain as executors of the estate - again in spite of concerns raised.

Liz Dux, a lawyer at law firm Slater & Gordon which represents victims, said: "Today's ruling will bring great relief to Savile's many victims who have been living with the uncertainty of not knowing whether they would be blocked in their claims.

"They just want some recognition of what they have been through so they can then be able to move on with their lives. Hundreds of Savile's victims, who are represented by Slater & Gordon, have already signed up to the scheme in the hope that they would receive some form of justice without the need for drawn-out and costly litigation.

"The court were told in length about the system of scrutiny that exists under the scheme and were satisfied that there were sufficient checks and balances in place. The Court of Appeal held that they had no doubt that many of the claims were meritorious and would be successful if litigated. This is not a charter for fraudulent claims."

Lawyers said the number of people making compensation claims after alleging they were abuse victims rose above 200.

Experts initially put the value of Savile's estate at around £4 million. But in February, Mr Justice Sales said a "range of expenses" was incurred and the estate's value was reduced to about £3.3 million.

Additional reporting by the Press Association