Section 115 - Compensation orders
568.Under section 249 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 (“the 1995 Act”), where a person is convicted of an offence, the court may make an order requiring him to pay compensation for any personal injury, loss or damage caused directly or indirectly, or alarm or distress caused directly, to the victim.
569.A court cannot make a compensation order in respect of loss suffered in consequence of the death of any person; or injury loss or damage due to an accident involving a motor vehicle on the road, except where the damage is treated as having arisen out of the theft of the car by the convicted person.
570.The maximum amount which may be awarded under a compensation order by a sheriff or stipendiary magistrate in summary proceedings is £10,000 (“the prescribed sum”). The maximum amount which can be awarded by a Justice of the Peace is an amount not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale (£2,500). In solemn proceedings there is no limit on the amount which may be awarded.
571.Subsection (1)(a)(i) amends section 249(1) of the 1995 Act. This allows courts to make compensation orders in relation to deaths or road accidents, subject to the following amendments.
572.Subsection (1)(a)(ii) amends section 249(1) to clarify that a compensation order must be paid in favour of the victim.
573.Subsection (1)(b) inserts a new subsection (1B) into section 249, which provides that compensation may be paid to a victim or a person who is liable for funeral expenses. A new subsection (1C) is also inserted, which defines a victim as either the person who has suffered injury, loss or damage, or a relative who has suffered a bereavement caused by an offence being committed. “Relative” has the same meaning as in Schedule 1 of the Damages (Scotland) Act 1976.
574.Subsection (1)(c) inserts new subsections (3A), (3B) and (3C) into section 249. Subsection (3A) allows a compensation order to be made in cases where a road accident has been caused by an uninsured driver, provided no other type of compensation is payable. Subsection (3B) provides that where a compensation order is made following damage to a stolen vehicle or an accident with an uninsured driver, then that compensation may include some or all of the cost of the loss of preferential insurance rates. Subsection (3C) provides that a compensation order may be made in respect of loss suffered as a result of bereavement and funeral expenses in connection with a person’s death, except where the death was as a result of a road accident.
575.Subsection (1)(d) amends subsection (4) of section 249. This provides that unless subsections (3) – (3C) allow a compensation order to be made, then compensation orders shall not be made in respect of loss relating to a death or, injury, loss or damage relating to a road accident.
576.In some exceptional cases, statute provides that summary courts may impose a maximum fine, the amount of which exceeds “the prescribed sum” (i.e. the statutory maximum) of £10,000 set out by section 225(8) of the 1995 Act. Subsection (1)(f) inserts a new subsection (8A) into section 249 of the 1995 Act. Section (8A) allows the sheriff, in cases where an exceptionally high fine may be imposed, to make a compensation order up to the same amount.
577.Subsection (2) amends section 251 of the 1995 Act. It repeals paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section 251 and removes the power of the court to reduce or discharge the compensation order when the injury, loss or damage has been held in civil proceedings to be less than it was taken to be for the purposes of the compensation order. This removes any explicit link with civil proceedings.
578.Subsection (2)(b) inserts a new subsection (1A) into section 251 of the 1995 Act. Subsection (1A) allows the court to review the compensation order at any time before it has been fully complied with and gives the court the power to increase the order if materially new information about the means of the offender has become available or the offender’s financial circumstances have improved.