What is a Criminal Injuries Compensation?
The Office of Criminal Injuries Compensation was established pursuant to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act 2003 (WA) to compensate victims for injuries suffered as a consequence of an offence. Compensation can be awarded if bodily harm, mental or nervous shock or pregnancy results from an offence. Compensation may cover: pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of income and/or medical expenses.
Who decides whether compensation is awarded?
A Criminal Injuries Compensation Assessor at the Office of Criminal Injuries Compensation will determine whether or not compensation is paid.
What happens if I am unhappy with the decision?
A person who is dissatisfied with the decision of the Assessor, or who receives an award for compensation that they consider to be unsatisfactory, can appeal the decision or amount awarded to the District Court of Western Australia.
Who can appeal a compensation award?
Appeals can be made by both the victim of an offence, or the offender against the decisions and awards made by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Assessor. The person making the appeal is called the ‘Appellant’.
Where a victim appeals against an award because he or she believes it is too low, the offender should be named the as the 'Respondent'.
Where an offender believes the award is too high, the victim should be named as the 'Respondent'.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Assessor should never be named as the 'Respondent'.
How long do I have to appeal the decision of the Assessor?
Appeals should be commenced in the District Court within 21 days of the date of the award or the decision. The Court does have discretion to extend this timeframe, where it considers it appropriate to do so on an individual case basis.
What if I want to appeal the decision after 21 days?
If you do appeal after 21 days, you must apply to the court to seek leave to appeal out of time. You will need to file and serve an application and an affidavit in support. The process is set out in the Procedure Guide. The application should be filed with the appeal papers.
What results can my appeal achieve?
The appeal involves a rehearing of the original application and evidence provided to the Office of Criminal Injuries Compensation and considered by the Assessor. The Court makes its decision afresh, without being fettered by the assessor’s decision.
Is my appeal before a Judge in Court?
Yes, a Judge will be presiding over the appeal. It will be the Judge's role to decide the application afresh based on all the evidence presented to the Assessor, and any other evidence or information the Judge may decide to receive. There will be an initial directions hearing before a Registrar of the District Court, but this is only to check whether the appeal is ready for hearing by the Judge.
Who must I serve my ‘Notice of Appeal’ on?
You must serve the notice on three different parties:
- The Respondent
- The Chief Assessor, Criminal Injuries Compensation
- The State Solicitor’s Office, who acts for the Chief Executive Officer of the Department of the Attorney General
The addresses details for service for the Chief Assessor and the State Solicitor's Office can be found in the Procedure Guide.
The appeal notice must be personally served on the respondent. If the respondent is in prison, it can be served by sending it to the superintendent of the prison by ordinary pre-paid post. See the Procedure Guide for more information.
What if I can not locate the Respondent?
If an Appellant does not know the Respondent’s address, the Appellant can apply to the Court for an order allowing service in some other way, for example, by advertisement or by post to a third party. The process to obtain orders of this type is set out in the Procedure Guide.
What forms will I need to commence my appeal?
An appellant must complete and file with the Court an appeal notice. There is a link to a blank pro forma and worked example below. The process is set out in the Procedure Guide.
What will my appeal cost?
There is a filing/hearing fee for an individual to commence the appeal, these fees are set out in the District Court's Fee Chart - Item 3. This fee is automatically waived for most concession card holders.
The Court has the power to waive this fee. The waiver process is set out in the Procedure Guide.
Click here to download a copy of the Procedure Guide.
The relevant forms including from the District Court Rules 2005 (WA), are:
(The reference information at the top of the blank pro formas and the worked examples may be deleted.