A victim of child abuse has been successful in the Supreme Court after arguing that the “same roof rule” that is applied to victims of violent crimes committed before 1 October 1979 who are attempting to claim criminal injuries compensation is in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
Monica Allan was assaulted twice by her mother as a young child in the early 1970s, and her mother was prosecuted for attempted murder both times. After obtaining her social work records as an adult, Ms Allan decided to make a claim for criminal injuries compensation. Her claim for compensation was denied by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority as a result of the “same roof rule”; a rule that was in place until 1979 which meant that victims of violent crimes could not claim compensation if they had been living with the perpetrator at the time of the incident, and was intended to ensure that the perpetrator would not benefit from any compensation awarded to a person that they lived with.
The “same roof rule” was changed in 1979, however this change was not retrospective, meaning that victims of violent crimes that had been committed prior to 1 October 1979, when the rule began being enforced, were still not entitled to compensation if they had been living with the perpetrator at the time of the incident.
Ms Allan had initially brought a judicial review against the UK government on the grounds that it breached Article 1 of the First Protocol of the ECHR, the right to peacefully enjoy one’s possessions, and Article 14 of the ECHR, the right to enjoy the rights under the ECHR without discrimination. The Lord Ordinary held that criminal injuries compensation did fall “within the ambit” of A1P1, and that the rule did lead to a “difference in treatment” between people in an “analogous situation”. However, the petition was dismissed, and a later appeal refused, as it was felt that the breach of the ECHR was justified in this case as it pursued a legitimate aim – to ensure the longevity of the scheme.
Ms Allan then took her case to the Supreme Court, and has ultimately been successful after the UK Government decided to withdraw its opposition. The Government announced in September of last year that it intended to amend the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme to remove the “same roof rule”.
If you think that you may have a claim as a result of the pending abolition of the “same roof rule”, our specialist personal injury team will be able to provide you with further advice and assistance. They can be contacted on 0333 060 5725.