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Thursday, 9 August 2012

A Case To Shout About

I don’t usually use this blog to report on my own cases or those dealt with by colleagues at EAD but every now and again something comes along that you just have to mention. This is a case involving a claim for Criminal Injuries Compensation.

The claimant was assaulted at work which caused severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Depression. She eventually had to leave work and in turn lost her home which went with the job.

She claimed criminal injuries compensation and was initially awarded just under £4k. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) refused to accept any psychiatric injury because she had not actually been seen by a consultant and therefore there was no diagnosis. They also denied that the accommodation was a loss that could be part of the claim as they argued that it should have been declared for tax purposes.

EAD appealed on her behalf. My colleague Peter Kneale obtained a psychiatric report which confirmed that she did indeed have PTSD and depression both of which were caused by the incident and both of which were still affecting her. In addition he obtained confirmation from HMRC that there was no issue over the provision of the accommodation.

The Appeal went all the way to a Tribunal Hearing at which she was awarded just under £110k. We are thrilled at this result as a result of Peter’s hard work and dedication to her case.

But this also illustrates a wider issue that is a major concern to all of us.

It shows what an overwhelming difference it can make if somebody is legally represented. The difference between the initial award and the final award is over £100k. Without the legal expertise and experience she might have been tempted just to walk away with the initial £4k.

There are going to many cases in future where claimants will not have access to lawyers. Our client was fortunate in having the support of her Trade Union. But thousands of people will find themselves deprived of basic legal advice when next years legal aid cuts start to bite. Maybe it is stories like this that will lead politicians to listen.

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