§ Mr. Howe
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will state, in respect of each of the last five years for which full figures are available, the total sum paid by way of ex gratia compensation to persons whose conviction, detention or imprisonment appeared to have been unjustifiable, the number of persons so compensated and the number of such persons who expressed themselves dissatisfied with the amount of money so paid to them.
§ Miss Bacon
The figures forex gratia payments made in such circumstances by the Home Office are as follows:
£ s. d. 1960 … … 110 0 0 (2 persons) 1961 … … 250 0 0 (1 person) 1962 … … 310 2 10 (2 persons) 1963 … … 280 0 0 (2 persons) 1964 … … 25 0 0 (1 person)
One of these persons wrote to the Home Office expressing dissatisfaction with the amount.
§ Mr. Howe
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether he will explain the principles by which he is guided in assessing ex gratia compensation payable to persons whose conviction, detention or imprisonment appears to have been unjustifiable; and whether he will state in particular any difference between such principles and 243W those applicable to the assessment of comparable damages at common law;
(2) why it would not be in the public interest for the assessment of ex gratia compensation payable to persons whose conviction, detention or imprisonment appears to have been unjustifiable to be carried out by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board or by some comparable body of the executive branch of Her Majesty's Government.
§ Miss Bacon
It is already the practice to ask an independent person of standing to advise on the amount of anex gratia payment to be offered in such circumstances, and my right hon. and learned Friend is not convinced that there is a case for changing the procedure. The payment is not made on the basis of legal liability, and in each case the assessor considers all the circumstances which appear to be relevant, including the duration of any detention undergone, any loss of reputation and the probable earning capacity of the person concerned. It is not therefore possible to make a direct comparison with the principles applicable to common law damages.