There are currently two schemes in operation for the payment of compensation and they are the Statutory Scheme and the Ex Gratia Scheme.
Both these schemes are administered by the Scottish Ministers and compensation will only be considered therefore if an application is made to the Scottish Ministers.
If you believe you are entitled to compensation, you or your legal representative should complete the Scottish Government's miscarriages of justice application form and send it to the Criminal Law and Practice Unit at St Andrew's House, Edinburgh EH1 3DG. Applications will only be considered when this application form has been completed.
Where a person's conviction is reversed or (as the case may be) is pardoned or released from custody as a result of a wrongful conviction or charge and this event took place on or after 13 December 2010, there is a 3 year time limit for applications to be made. This time limit was introduced with the commencement of section 113 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010. For example, if a person's conviction was reversed on, say, 1 February 2011, they have to make their application for compensation prior to 1 February 2014.
Where a person's conviction was reversed or (as the case may be) was pardoned or released from custody as a result of a wrongful conviction or charge and this event took place prior to 13 December 2010, and in respect of which no application for compensation has been made, the 3 yr time limit was triggered on the date of commencement of section 113. Therefore, the application will have to be made prior to 13 December 2013.
The Scottish Ministers can waive this time limit, but only where it is in the interests of justice to do so or where there are exceptional circumstances. The Scottish Ministers are responsible for taking the final decision on whether an applicant is eligible or not eligible for payment.
The amount of compensation paid will be determined on the advice and recommendation of an independent assessor appointed by the Scottish Ministers. In considering claims, the independent assessor will apply principles similar to those on which claims for damages arising from civil wrongs are assessed.
All claimants will be provided with a written note from the independent assessor setting out the basis on which the decision was reached.
It should be noted that a decision to pay such compensation is not an admission of legal liability on the part of the Scottish Ministers.