Right to compensation and expenses

You are entitled to be reimbursed for certain costs associated with attending court, have your property returned to you once trial proceedings are concluded and, in some cases, can receive compensation.

Payment of expenses

If you attend court to give evidence, you have the right to claim certain reasonable expenses from the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. In some circumstances, you may be able to claim expenses if, as a witness, you are told at the last minute not to come to court and give evidence.

Using the form on the back of your witness citation, you can claim expenses for travelling to and from the court and an allowance for meals. Cash payments are only made in cases of genuine hardship or emergency. Exceptional costs such as taxi fares, air travel and overnight accommodation must be approved by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in advance. Claims can be made for loss of earnings, up to a limit, if you are employed or self-employed.

As there are no childcare facilities at court buildings, you can claim expenses for additional childcare and babysitting at fixed rates. If you need to organise care cover in your absence, you will be reimbursed at a fixed rate.

Further information about expenses can be obtained from the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.

Court compensation

If the accused pleads or is found guilty, the court may order the accused to pay you compensation. The court will contact you if a compensation order is made. If you do not want compensation get in touch with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.

Criminal injuries compensation

If you have been physically or mentally injured because you were the victim of a violent crime, you may be entitled to compensation.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority is responsible for administering the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme throughout England, Scotland and Wales. They pay compensation to eligible applicants who have been the victim of a violent crime, for example a physical assault or sexual offence.

To make a claim, you should contact the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. If you are a victim of an uninsured or untraced (hit and run) driver, you may be able to get compensation via the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB).

Return of property

Once a case has been concluded (this may be after an appeal), if your property was taken for evidence, it will in most cases be returned to you by the police.

In some cases, you may be asked if you wish it returned, for example if it is damaged.

Police Scotland and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service have published joint guidance about the return of property to victims. You can ask these agencies for a copy of the guidance.

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