BLM Audit to support prison compensation crackdown

07 Mar 2016

The UK and Ireland’s leading risk and insurance law business, BLM has been engaged to carry out a comprehensive audit of prisoner compensation payments, as the Ministry of Justice launches an investigation into payouts.

In an effort to identify opportunities to reduce payments of damages and legal costs, BLM has  audited a sample of concluded personal injury claims submitted to the prison services over a 12-month period before reporting back to the department.

Announcing the review, Justice Minister Dominic Raab said: “We have ordered an independent audit to make sure we are not being taken for a ride. We want public money focused on protecting the public and reforming offenders – not fuelling the compensation culture.”

The review follows a year in which the taxpayer was accountable for £28.8million spent by the Prison Service in handling claims. Up £7million from the previous financial year, that figure includes damages, legal advice and legal representation.

BLM partner and head of public sector Michael Pether, who leads the audit, commented: “As in any area of the public sector, the Ministry of Justice is not immune to spurious and exaggerated claims levelled against it.  It is important to assess whether better and more efficient outcomes could be achieved.

“We hope this process can help to improve the way the Prison Service and the wider public sector handle claims and we look forward to sharing our findings later this month.”

Recent claims against the Prison Service include:

  • Lee Rigby killer Michael Adebolajo, who is seeking £20,000 following an incident at HMP Belmarsh back in July 2013. That claim is currently ongoing.

  • Terrorist Abdul Miah launching a claim for racial discrimination after he was searched by a female prison officer. He was seeking £2,000 in compensation but a judge dismissed his claim.

  •  Liquid bomb plotter Abdula Ahmed Ali, serving life with a minimum term of 40 years, looking for £400 compensation following an allegation that two boxes containing his personal possessions, including legal mail, were opened, searched and removed in 2013. His claim was dismissed.

  • Burglar Noel Jennings trying to claim £6,000 after banging his head while play-fighting with another prisoner. He tried to claim he had slipped on water caused by a leak at HMP Manchester. His claim was dismissed and he was jailed for a further 15 months for perverting the course of justice.

  • Robber Anthony Evans attempting to pocket £6,000 after claiming he had fallen from his bunk. His false claim was discovered and he was jailed for an additional six months for fraud.

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Disclaimer: This document does not present a complete or comprehensive statement of the law, nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight issues that may be of interest to customers of BLM. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in any particular case.

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Michael Pether

Michael Pether

Partner,
London


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