30. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of cases and applications on hand at the end of each of the years 2015 to 2018 with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal; the average time to have a claim settled; the actions he plans to reduce the number of cases on hand; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11660/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal administers the Scheme of Compensation for Personal Injuries Criminally Inflicted (General Scheme). Under the terms of the Scheme, the Tribunal is entirely independent in the matter of the individual decisions on applications for compensation and I as Minister have no role in the matter.
The number of applications received in each of the years in question is outlined in the following table.
|Year||Number of Applications Received|
Applications to the Tribunal are processed with a minimum of formality compared to court proceedings where compensation is sought under the Civil Liability Acts. Tribunal Members when making their decisions must be satisfied that all supporting documentation has been provided by the applicant and is in order. In some cases there can be delays pending the availability of all required documentation and some cases are complex in terms of medical conditions. For example, in the case of serious injury to the victim, it can take a considerable amount of time (in some cases a number of years) before their treating consultant is in a position to give a final prognosis. The absence of such information can sometimes lead to delays in bringing cases to finalisation. For the reasons outlined, it is not possible to provide the Deputy with the average time taken to bring a claim to finalisation.
Because of the manner in which cases are recorded, in particular applications which are received but not actively pursued by the applicant, it is not possible to provide the number of active cases on hand. I can inform the Deputy that I have requested an assessment of the caseload of the Tribunal. When this exercise has been completed, I will contact the Deputy directly.
In view of the length of time since the Scheme was last revised, my Department has submitted a request for a review of the Scheme to the Law Reform Commission (LRC) for consideration in the context of its Programme of Law Reform.