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Question

466. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the timelines operated by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal to deal with cases; the date on which the next case available to be taken up by a tribunal member for consideration was placed in line for such consideration; the date on which that specific application was first submitted to the tribunal; if an example of basic timelines in respect of the cases with the tribunal regarding an aged analysis on a yearly basis in respect of the outstanding cases when they were first submitted to the tribunal will be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18772/19]

549. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of cases with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal received each year in each of the past five years; the number of these cases completed in each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20032/19]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 466 and 549 together.
As the Deputy will be aware, 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 Members are entirely independent in the matter of examining and determining on individuals applications for compensation.
The information requested by the Deputy regarding the number of applications received by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal in the past five years is provided in the table below.

Year Applications Received Applications Closed
General Scheme Prison Officer Scheme General Scheme Prison Officer Scheme
2014 330 76 75 3
2015 290 75 192 56
2016 297 89 172 78
2017 294 107 87 38
2018 261 87 33 15

Tribunal Members, who are practising solicitors and barristers in the Courts system, provide their services on a part time basis. When processing applications Tribunal Members must be satisfied that all supporting documentation has been provided to enable them reach a decision on the application and it may be the case that they will seek further documentation to inform their decision. The time taken to process an application can vary widely from case to case and in some circumstances, owing to the nature of the injury to the victim, it can be some considerable time before all required documentation is available to the Member to enable him/her make their decision.
Therefore, it is not possible to provide definitive or set timelines operated by the Tribunal. However, I have been informed by the Tribunal that eleven general scheme decisions have been arrived at by the Tribunal to date in 2019 and a twelfth decision will be issued by the Tribunal Secretary shortly. These relate to applications received in date ranges from January 2009 to December 2016. In addition there are currently seven further general scheme cases assigned to Tribunal members for decision.
The Deputy should be aware that cases are sent to Tribunal Members for decision in chronological order of readiness from the date that the file is considered to be in order. Before a file is sent to a Tribunal Member for consideration, the Secretary to the Tribunal examines the file to ensure that all the documentation is in order. If s/he considers that there are issues that the Member dealing with the case might likely query or that some of the information may be out of the date, the Tribunal may contact the Applicant or their legal representative to request updates on reports e.g. medical, dental, actuarial (e.g. re care, loss of income, future out of pocket expenses, etc.). As soon as the queries raised have been dealt with, the Tribunal will send the file concerned to a Member at the next available opportunity.
An assessment of the caseload of the Tribunal is currently underway and I have been informed that it is expected that this will be finalised shortly. I will provide the Deputy with a further update at that point.