Compensation orders in criminal cases
Compensation orders in criminal cases

The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Compensation orders in criminal cases
  • What is compensation?
  • Requirements
  • Priority over fines
  • Compensation in motor accident cases
  • Compensation for loss arising from death
  • Procedure for imposing compensation orders
  • General matters
  • Duty to consider compensation
  • Assessing the amount
  • More...

What is compensation?

A compensation order is defined in the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 (PCC(S)A 2000), to mean an order which requires the offender to pay compensation for any personal injury, loss or damage resulting from the offence.

An order can be made to compensate for terror and distress directly occasioned by the offence.

In special circumstances, the court may consider awarding interest on the compensation.

The existence of a civil liability is not a condition precedent to the making of a valid compensation order.

Where a civil remedy exists, however, it is inappropriate to award greater compensation than would be recoverable in civil proceedings.


An order must relate to a specific offence and to a specific loser.

A compensation order may not be made in respect of loss or damage arising from admitted offences which have not been charged or formally taken into consideration.

The order must specify the amount and any instalments. See R v Miller [1976] Crim LR 694 (not reported by LexisNexis®).

Compensation ordered shall be of such amount as the court considers appropriate having regard to any evidence and to any representations that are made by or on behalf of the parties.

Priority over fines

Where it is appropriate to impose both compensation and a fine, but the offender lacks the means to pay both an appropriate compensation order and an appropriate fine, the court must give preference to compensation

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