Scotland’s Redress Scheme, Redress Scotland, opened on 8 December 2021. The most recent Redress Scotland Facts and Figures were published in December 2023 and they advise that up to 31 October 2023, Redress Scotland had received a total of 1,526 applications, 1,498 for redress and 28 related to legal fees and expenses. 

Month-on-month the number of applications has been steadily increasing, from February 2022 when approximately 20 applications were received, to October 2023 where approximately 125 applications were received. Over 60% of all application received by Redress Scotland up to the end of October 2023 were for Individually Assessed applications. By way of reminder, readers of this blog will be aware that there are five levels of Individually Assessed redress payments available under the Scottish scheme, leading to potential total redress payments of Level 1/£20,000, Level 2/£40,000, Level 3/£60,000, Level 4/£80,000 or Level 5/£100,000.

This statistic is somewhat contrary to initial expectations that the greatest demand would be for Fixed Rate redress payments, which could be brought by people who may not have had a legal basis to bring a personal injury claim in the civil courts. A Fixed Rate redress payment of £10,000 is available for applicants who prefer not to provide a detailed statement of their abuse, or if Redress Scotland assess that their individually assessed application does not meet the threshold for a Level 1/£20,000 payment.

During the period from December 2021 to October 2023 Redress Scotland have made decisions on 1,152 applications of which 1,130 decisions related to redress and 22 related to legal fees and expenses. Again, of the 1,130 decisions made relating to redress, 60% of those decision related to Individually Assessed applications.

Redress Scotland says that the length of time it takes it to make a decision on a completed application can vary, but the average length of time since the scheme opened is slightly over 28 working days. However, it’s the same story worldwide, now that Redress Scotland have been receiving increased numbers of applications month on month since February 2023, the number of applications on hand now exceeds the capacity of current panel members and Redress Scotland are prioritising applications from those with terminal illnesses and applicants aged 68 or over, to try to ensure these are still processed as quickly as possible. They are also currently recruiting new panel members and hope to have them on board in January 2024 and to reduce the length of time for making decisions back to their target of 30 days.

Since the scheme opened, redress awards have been made for every level. In total, 710 awards have been made for Individually Assessed applications, while 21 have resulted in decisions to deny redress. 

Up until the end of October 2023 Level 5/£100,000 awards have accounted for 42 % of all Individually Assessed awards made by Redress Scotland‘s Panel. 

We are aware from the Scottish Government that in order to achieve a redress payment at Level 5/£100,000, an applicant will have to establish that he/she suffered one or more type(s) of abuse and the time spent in the relevant care setting(s) where the abuse occurred is likely to be a significant proportion of childhood. At this level, a combination of types, incidents and patterns of abuse, together with a consideration of other relevant factors, mean that the applicant's overall experience is not appropriately reflected by a Level 1, 2, 3 or 4 payment.

Non-exhaustive examples of abuse to be considered for a redress payment at Level 5/£100,000 are also provided and are as follows:-

  • Emotional abuse - Sustained, severe emotional abuse of an extent, duration and frequency that take it beyond the type of abuse described at Levels 1 to 4.
  • Neglect - Sustained, severe neglect of an extent, duration and frequency that take it beyond the type of abuse described at Levels 1 to 4.
  • Physical abuse - Causing severe injury and/or was potentially life threatening, which received, or ought to have received, medical treatment. It is likely that the abuse resulted in permanent impairment or disfigurement. Physical abuse at this level may include the full spectrum of abusive behaviours including striking (with or without an implement), shaking, throwing, kicking, scalding, burning, stabbing, drowning, poisoning, suffocating or other conduct.
  • Sexual abuse - Repeated incidents of sexual abuse involving penetrative acts (including oral, vaginal or anal rape and sexual assault with an object).Being trafficked for the purpose of sexual abuse while resident in the care of the relevant care setting in Scotland.

Again, this is a surprising statistic, as with generous damages and more importantly interest being awarded by the Scottish Courts, relating to the same, the expectation was, that claims involving more serious allegations of abuse would be taken in the civil courts and not processed through Redress Scotland but this has clearly proven not to be the case.

This unexpected development has likely been contributed to by the fact that the vast majority of applicants who have received a decision from Redress Scotland as of October 2023, (which is 1,130 applicants) appear to have done so without having appointed a solicitor to support and/or advise them through the application process, as Redress Scotland says that as of October 2023 it has only made 22 decisions relating to legal fees and expenses.

It is probably too early to tell what the real impact of Redress Scotland will be on the civil claims landscape in Scotland, but at first glance and on the basis of early indicators, it does appear to confound expectations!