- 20 Mar 2020
Date received: 4 Mar 2020
Date responded: 19 Mar 2020
What information Ministers use in determining the level of compensation paid to those subjected to a miscarriage of justice by our legal system and what information is use altogether in deciding merits?
As you may be aware, the Scottish Government operates two schemes for the payment of compensation as a result of a miscarriage of justice. The statutory scheme under section 133 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (“the 1988 Act”) provides for compensation to be paid in certain circumstances. The decision as to whether compensation is payable is for Scottish Ministers but the amount of the award is quantified solely by an independent assessor who is appointed by the Scottish Ministers. An ex gratia scheme covering other types of cases has also operated for a number of years with successful cases treated in the same way as statutory ones by the assessor.
The independent assessor reviews cases by considering:
- economic loss caused by the miscarriage of justice – for example, loss of wages
- non-economic loss caused by the miscarriage of justice – for example, mental ill health
The independent assessor may also take account of:
- whether the applicant's actions contributed in any way to the wrongful conviction or charge
- any other convictions the applicant has and the punishments resulting from them.
For your information, I have enclosed with this reply a copy of the 'Notes for successful applicants' which are provided to people who are eligible for compensation, that sets out in more detail the basis on which the amount of compensation to be paid is assessed.
More information about the Scottish Government's two schemes for payment of compensation to people who have experienced a miscarriage of justice can be found at
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.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House