Barrister slams 'mean' tariffs

BARRISTER Robert Latham has called on the Home Secretary to drop his plans for a criminal injuries tariff system and restore the old system of compensation.

Speaking at last week's annual Victim Support meeting, Latham, head of chambers at 1 Pump Court, said that the new system was “mean” and “unfair”, and had been “introduced by stealth”.

The Appeal Court recently ruled that Howard, who spoke at the meeting, had broken the law by implementing the tariff system while the old scheme remained on the statute book.

The Home Secretary has said he plans to appeal against the court's ruling.

In a bitter attack on Howard, Latham – a member of the charity's ruling council – condemned his decision to “waste our money unnecessarily appealing to the House of Lords”, and branded the new system “unlawful”.

Howard stood his ground, saying: “We need to test whether the procedure is lawful or unlawful.”

Howard claimed at least 60 per cent of victims would receive as much or more compensation than they would have previously, and added that payments would be made more rapidly.

He said the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme – which paid out the equivalent of 42 per cent of the world's total criminal injury compensation bill – was recognised as the most generous of its kind, and would remain so.

“We believe that the new tariff scheme is the way forward. I hope that the legal challenge will soon be swiftly resolved,” said Howard.