The Lambeth Children’s Homes Redress Scheme, which remains open until 1 January 2022, awards compensation for those who were fearful of or subjected to abuse at one of the Council’s homes or Shirley Oaks Primary School, either as a resident or visitor. It also covers abuse by a foster parent where the applicant was placed there from a Lambeth Children’s Home.
The vast majority of cases that our Child Abuse Compensation department has dealt with have resulted in a satisfactory settlement for our clients. However, there are instances where it is not so straightforward.
For example, if there are no documents to prove residence/visitor status applications may not be accepted onto the Scheme. There are also cases where the amount of compensation or legal costs cannot be agreed. In these situations there is the option of making an appeal.
How do appeals work?
Appeals are made to the Independent Appeal Panel. This is made up of three individuals, including at least one legally qualified person, and is chaired by Sir John Goldring.
The Panel considers the application and medical evidence and both sides can make written submissions. There are advantages as the panel is independent of the Council and will look at the evidence with ‘fresh eyes’. They are not aware of any previous offers made and their decision is final.
Is it worth me appealing?
Whilst the independence of the Panel is of great benefit to applicants, there is a risk in making an appeal as if the Panel make an offer lower than one previously made the previous offer cannot be accepted. Each case will need to be considered on its own merits and the pros and cons discussed.
Whilst making an appeal is an option used in a small number of cases, it can result in a good outcome for those who decide to appeal. For example, in a recent appeal I dealt with the outcome was successful, with the offer made by the Appeal Panel being higher than the offer previously made by Lambeth.
What are the statistics on appeal?
To get an idea of how many cases have gone to appeal, the Council’s Cabinet Report dated 16 September 2019 provides some useful figures. 16 appeals had been made by the end of June 2019. This is a small number in comparison to the 1,101 Harm’s Way Payments and 250 Individual Redress Payments made 18 months after the Scheme’s operation.
All of the 6 cases which had been heard by the Panel by that date related to eligibility. However, the report noted that more appeals were being made regarding the level of redress payment and legal costs.
We have dealt with, and continue to receive new instructions, for many Lambeth Scheme cases. We use our considerable knowledge and experience to see each case through to a conclusion, including appeal.
Samantha Follows deals with Lambeth cases and if you would like to speak to her in confidence she can be contacted on 01924 882000 or Samantha.firstname.lastname@example.org