Payments of compensation for miscarriages of justice: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

FOI reference: FOI/17/02441
Date received: 18 October 2017
Date responded: 16 November 2017

Information requested

You asked for:

  1. Since January 1, 2000, how much compensation has been awarded to individuals who have been wrongly convicted in Scotland? Please also include the amount of money allocated in a budget to be given to such wrongly convicted individuals.

  2. For each individual awarded compensation, what was the amount given to each person and how long was the person's length of stay in prison?


I enclose a copy of some of the information you have requested. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exemption(s) under section(s) 38(1)(b) (personal information)of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why that exemption(s) applies are explained below.

However, I can provide the following information which may be of interest to you. Since 2000, the Scottish Government has paid compensation to 18 individuals as a result of a miscarriage of justice. 16 of those individuals spent time in prison as a consequence of their wrongful conviction. The average length of time served in prison by the 16 individuals was 8 years and 10 months. The total amount paid to individuals in compensation for miscarriages of justice by the Scottish Government since 2000 is £12,122,794.80.

The Scottish Government does not have a set budget from which to make payments to people following a miscarriage of justice. The amount of compensation paid to successful applicants is determined on the advice and recommendation of an independent assessor appointed by the Scottish Ministers. In considering claims, the independent assessor applies principles similar to those on which claims for damages arising from civil wrongs are assessed.

Reasons for not providing information

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, ie information about the length of time served in prison by, and amount paid in compensation to, people found eligible for compensation for a miscarriage of justice and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998. While you have not requested information about the names of the individuals, it is considered that there is a real risk that individuals could be identified from information about the length of time they spent in prison and the amount paid in compensation. This exemption is not subject to the 'public interest test', so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.

About FOI

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Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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