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Lord Carlisle of Bucklow: My Lords, I am glad that my noble friend the Minister accepts that there will be cases that require an oral hearing. I am not convinced that an oral hearing before the claims officer, who will perhaps be—I say this without any derogatory intention—a quite junior civil servant, would necessarily be of a higher standard than a hearing between members of the adjudicating panel, who, as I understand it, will be drawn from the public and will include lawyers, doctors and others. At least I have made the advance that it is accepted that some cases will require a hearing rather than being able to be dealt with on paper. In those circumstances, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 10 not moved.]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 11:

After Clause 3, insert the following new clause—

Multiple injuries

(". The Scheme shall provide for the calculation of the standard award for a person who has sustained two or more criminal injuries (provided each of these would otherwise attract a Tariff award at level 12 or above) to be made—
(a) for the most serious injury, at the full standard amount for that injury determined in accordance with the Tariff;
(b) for the next most serious injury, at 50 per cent. of the standard amount; and
(c) for the third most serious injury, at 25 per cent. of the standard amount.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, we debated the issue of multiple injuries at some length in Committee. I am not returning with the same proposition. I return to the matter, however, because outstanding questions arise from the consideration of multiple injuries in the tariff as at present drafted.

We proposed in Committee that there should be special consideration for multiple injuries at level 7 and above. We are now saying that there should be special consideration other than that presently proposed for injuries at level 12 and above. Examples of injuries at level 12 would be, for instance (taken at random), serious disfigurement of the face from scarring or permanently impaired balance as a result of injury to the skull. Both of those injuries would give rise to compensation of £7,500 and so on to larger amounts.

In Committee, we queried whether the proposal to give for a second injury 10 per cent. of the award that would otherwise be made, for a third injury 5 per cent. of the award that would otherwise be made and for any subsequent injury nothing at all was just. It was clear that the decision was arbitrary. I do not deny that the 50 per cent. that we propose for the second injury and 25 per cent. for the third are also arbitrary. The justification for the 10 per cent. and 5 per cent. has been given; namely, they arise from the sampling process. That may well be so. But the numbers of cases in the 20,000

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sample of multiple injuries, and certainly the number of cases of multiple injuries at level 12 or above, will be so small that the sampling process is quite inadequate.

When we were told that the 10 per cent. and 5 per cent. were generous in relation to the findings of the sampling process, it was admitted that the sampling process had covered injuries at all levels, right down to the minimum level of £1,000. Therefore I do not believe that evidence from the 20,000 sample is at all relevant to the case that we put forward. It is not based on sampling; it is based on a common sense recognition that people who have two or more injuries as serious as the two examples that I gave—and there are dozens, if not hundreds, more in the tariff—will be seriously affected.

Quite apart from anything else, if there is more than one injury at that level, the trauma of the physical attack itself may not be recognised as a trauma under the provisions for shock. It may not be psychiatrically diagnosed; or there may be no psychiatric prognosis. However, it must still be pretty serious. It must have been a violent occasion when the injury took place, and it must have had a very considerable effect on the victim's future, on his or her self-confidence and ability to lead a normal life.

Therefore, without claiming anything magical for the figures in particular, I draw attention to the differences between this and the amendment that we put forward in Committee. I draw attention to the fact that we refer only to quite serious criminal injuries. I suggest that the suggested levels of 50 per cent. and 25 per cent. are much more realistic and much more in accordance with what we know to be the case.

Finally, on a point about public expenditure, it was made clear that the numbers with multiple injuries are quite small. The numbers of multiple injuries at level 12 and above will clearly be very small. I suggest that the public expenditure consideration will not be of great import. I beg to move.

Lord Carlisle of Bucklow: My Lords, very briefly, I support the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, on this amendment. When we debated this matter in Committee, I suggested to the Minister that in the cases decided under the tariff scheme that we had to review we found that the one area of real unfairness was the way in which the approach to multiple injuries had worked in practice. Of course I accept that originally the proposals were based on a review of awards by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. But in most multiple injury cases, two injuries are related to each other. A second injury may mean very little difference compared with the original injury. In other words, if you have a broken nose and a scar on the lip, although there are two injuries, the second injury may have little effect.

The noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, refers to a case where there are two major injuries which of their nature are likely to be totally distinct. For example, to take level 12 in the tariff, it seems very hard to say that the person who is partially permanently blind in one eye and at the same time has a fracture of both femurs should receive only 10 per cent. of what would be reasonable compensation for the fracture of both femurs.

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The fact is, such an injury will be just as grave to him whether or not he has been partially blinded in the same attack. Therefore I hope that the Government will be sympathetic to the aims of this amendment. I hope that they will try before Third Reading to come forward with a proposal that is more generous than the 10 per cent. and 5 per cent. levels that presently exist, and particularly where the types of injury are completely distinct rather than in any way related to each other.

Lord Ackner: My Lords, I, too, support the amendment. The second injury may prove, by reason of the first injury, to be more disabling than it would have been on its own, and a fortiori the third injury because the vulnerability of the person injured has been increased by the second injury and increased again by the third. There can therefore be circumstances where even the 50 per cent. and 25 per cent. amounts will be poor compensation. To keep to the Government's figures is to add insult to injury.

5.30 p.m.

The Lord Advocate (Lord Rodger of Earlsferry): My Lords, as the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, said, we had considerable discussion on this matter in Committee. At that stage my noble friend made it clear that there could be no question of assessing multiple injuries other than on the basis of the tariff and that the formula proposed in this draft scheme had been chosen after careful analysis of the data obtained from the extensive sampling exercise undertaken to set the original tariff.

I recognise that the amendment deals with a rather more limited range of injuries. Nonetheless, it is right to stress that the figures that have been put in, which on the face of it may be thought by some of your Lordships to appear slightly mean, have not been arrived at by some whim. They have been put in as a result of a study and analysis of the practice of the board. That shows that there is little evidence that multiple injuries have led to larger awards. In fact, as was said on the last occasion, the median award for two more serious multiple injuries was in fact less than the median award for one such injury. Three injuries or more produced median awards only 10 per cent. higher.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, perhaps the noble Lord will allow me to intervene. Is he saying that the analysis which he describes was of more serious injuries? I thought that the analysis was of all qualifying injuries.

Lord Rodger of Earlsferry: My Lords, the multiple injuries were what we were concerned with.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, is that at all levels?

Lord Rodger of Earlsferry: My Lords, the median award for two more serious multiple injuries was in fact less than the median award for one such injury. That is what the study showed.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: What, my Lords, does the Minister mean by "more serious"? At what level is it more serious?

Lord Rodger of Earlsferry: My Lords, at the moment I cannot give that to your Lordships by reference to one of the levels of the tariff. Maybe I shall be able to do so if the information is made available.

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In order to make quite sure that this was not some freak that had been thrown up by the analysis, care was also taken to consider the Judicial Studies Board's approach to damages for multiple injuries. The guidelines there also showed that in cases of multiple injury, most of the award was made for the most serious injury with very little added on for additional lesser injuries. That explains why the formula that is in the scheme has been adopted. It is even possible to say, in the light of the analysis, that the formula errs on the side of generosity. I am informed that more serious injuries were those which attracted an award of more than £1,000.

It has been said, and stressed by my noble friend Lord Carlisle, that there may be cases where there are two very disparate injuries—for example, the loss of an arm and a leg. It was perhaps that kind of situation also that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Ackner, had in mind. I accept that that is so. But it is also right to say that a study of the pattern of injuries dealt with in the scheme shows that such injuries are in fact extremely rare and far more often the injuries are closely connected. Therefore, it is on that basis that we have proceeded.

If, on the other hand, such a rare combination of injuries were to arise and either the authority or indeed the appeals panel felt that they should be included as a new category of injury—in the same way, for example, as the loss of one leg and the loss of two legs are regarded as separate categories of injuries in the proposed scheme—the authority is quite free to make an appropriate recommendation to the Secretary of State in terms of paragraph 20 of the draft scheme. If my right honourable friend shares that view, he can then invite Parliament to add the new injury description to the tariff. In the meantime, the authority will be able, in terms of paragraph 21, to make an interim award of up to half the amount which was recommended as the appropriate tariff for the new injury.

It was also said that the financial consequences of adopting the noble Lord's amendment would not be great. But I am not going to put any great stress on it. But it is fair to say that the estimate is that it would add another £2 million annually to the cost of the scheme. That is not a great amount in the overall context, but when one is dealing with various claims for funds to be used in various ways it is nonetheless a sum which we cannot overlook.

We have said—we have made no secret of the fact—that a major intention of the Bill is indeed to keep the costs of the scheme under control. Inevitably, that involves some compromises. This is one area where we believe that overall the balance of the scheme is right, the matter having been dealt with, as I indicated, on an analysis of the practice of the board hitherto.

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