If an offender is convicted, the Criminal Court may order to pay compensation to a victim of the crime. A person may be compensated for personal injury, losses from theft or damage to property, losses from fraud, being off work, medical expenses, travel expenses, pain and suffering, or loss, damage or injury caused to or by a stolen vehicle.
Before the hearing the police will have ascertained whether the victim requires some form of compensation and if so they will obtain accurate details from the victim of the loss or damage. The Prosecution will make the request for compensation in Court. In some cases the judge will decide to award compensation even if it has not been requested.
If the court decides to order compensation, it may be limited to what the offender can afford and may depend on the sentence the court has already ordered. The compensation may not cover the full cost of damage or loss. Following compensation being ordered, the Police will inform the victim of the award and the process to receive the money. Compensation is recoverable as a civil debt and the victim must request HM Sheriff to commence recovery/enforcement action.
If recovery action is requested, Enforcement Officers will make contact with the offender and investigate options for payment. Payment is ideally made in full, but if this is not possible then Enforcement Officers will aim to arrange payment by voluntary instalment through the Office of HM Sheriff. In some instances an Arrest of Wages Order may be made if the offender is employed.
Once an offender has been visited, Enforcement Officers will make a report to the victim with the arrangements made for payment and will monitor these payments until full payment of the compensation ordered has been paid. All compensation is paid to the Office of HM Sheriff which then arranges payment of monies collected.
No fees are charged for the enforcement of Compensation Orders.