In Hutton and others v Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority  EWCA Civ 1305, Owain Thomas QC succeeded in a judicial review claim for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority on time limits for historic claims for compensation.
A claim for criminal injuries compensation was brought almost 40 years out of time. CICA refused to waive the time limit, and the claimants appealed. The FTT refused to grant an extension of time, after hearing oral evidence.
The claimants applied for judicial review of that decision. The UT, in quashing the FTT’s decision, went out of its way to criticise the judgment made by the FTT as to whether the interests of justice warranted granting an extension of time. The Court of Appeal strongly disagreed with its approach, holding that the FTT’s decision on the question of waiver was ‘plainly right, indeed almost inevitable’.
Viewed in this light the UT’s approach was significantly out of step with the guidance in the case law as to the correct approach to challenges to determinations which require an overall judgment on broad questions such as “reasonableness” or the “interests of justice”.
Furthermore, the Court of Appeal upheld the general approach to historic cases which is that (i) the length of and reasons for the delay are highly relevant particularly in the context of a statutory scheme which has a less generous time limit than conventional personal injury claims and (ii) issues which bear on the eligibility of the claims were they to go forward are also relevant i.e. whether the proper determination of the claims has been adversely affected by the claims or whether the claims would be bound to be rejected anyway.
Owain was instructed by Gordon Newall of the CICA.