Publication - FOI/EIR release

Wrongly convicted awarded compensation payments: FOI release

Published: 15 May 2019

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

Published:
15 May 2019
Wrongly convicted awarded compensation payments: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/201900000824
Date received: 20 Mar 2019
Date responded: 17 Apr 2019
Information requested

1. Since January 1st 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. I would also like a breakdown by financial year detailing how many individuals were awarded compensation each year since 2000, and the total amount paid out each year since 2000.
3. what was the average length of time individuals who received compensation since 2000 spent in prison?
4. how many individuals who received compensation since 2000 were a) white b) male?

 

Response

I have set out below 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 emption(s) under section(s) 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why that exmption(s) applies are explained in the Annex below.
However, I can provide the following information which may be of interest to you. Since 2000, the Scottish Government has paid compensation to 19 individuals as a result of a miscarriage of justice.  17 of those individuals spent time in prison as a consequence of their wrongful conviction. The average length of time served in prison by successful applicants for compensation for a miscarriage of justice was 8 years and 1 month. The total amount paid to individuals in compensation for miscarriage of justice by the Scottish Government from 1 January 2000 until 31 March 2019 is £12,155,794.73

The Scottish government does not hold information on the ethnic origin or gender of applicants for compensation for a miscarriage of justice. The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) provides a right to recorded information a public authority holds and there is no requirement for an applicant seeking compensation to state their ethnicity or their gender. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.
The Scottish Government does not have a set budget from which to make payment 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.

Annex

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

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

 

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG