Overview of the Bill
1 The Historical Institutional Abuse (Northern Ireland) Bill [HL] ("the HIA Bill") will provide the legal framework for delivering two of the recommendations contained in the Report of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry: establishing a Historical Institutional Abuse Redress Board ("the Redress Board") to administer a publicly funded compensation scheme and the creation of a statutory Commissioner for Survivors of Institutional Childhood Abuse ("the Commissioner").
2 The HIA Bill includes the following:
● Powers to establish a Redress Board which will be responsible for receiving and processing applications for, and making payments of, compensation to victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse.
● Provisions for the composition and management of the Redress Board. These allow for the appointment of judicial and non-judicial Redress Board members to form panels to make determinations on applications and for the administrative functions of the Redress Board to be managed by a designated department.
● Provisions relating to entitlement to claim compensation, how an application for compensation is to be determined and the amounts of compensation that can be awarded.
● Powers for the Redress Board to compel the giving of evidence where it is considered necessary in the interests of justice to do so.
● Powers for the President of the Redress Board to issue a restriction order to prevent the disclosure of information or a person’s identity where it is in the public interest to do so.
● Powers for The Executive Office to make procedural rules subject to the approval of the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland.
● Powers to establish the Commissioner who will be responsible for the co-ordination and availability of services and promote the interests of those who suffered abuse.
● Duty for the Commissioner to appoint an advisory panel comprising only victims and survivors of abuse.
● Powers which include enabling the Commissioner to undertake or commission research into matters concerning the interests of victims and survivors.
● Duties for the Commissioner to encourage the provision and co-ordination of provision of relevant services in Northern Ireland to victims and survivors and to monitor the operation of specialist facilities.
● Duties for the Commissioner to publicise the role of the Redress Board, provide advice and assistance to individuals making an application to the Redress Board and monitor the operation of the Redress Board.