Ruling opens door for claims for health problems caused by incest

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A severely disabled man who was born as the result of abuse by a father against his daughter has won the right to claim compensation in a landmark legal ruling.

The ruling effectively opens the door for people who have genetic disorders because they were born of abusive incestuous relationships to make claims to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) – an option that was previously denied.

The ruling centres around the case of a man, now in his late twenties, who was born with numerous health problems including epilepsy, severe learning and developmental difficulties and hearing and sight problems.

The conditions were the result of a genetic disorder caused by him receiving a “double dose” of a defective gene due to the abusive incestuous relationship of his parents.

Judge Levenson of the Upper Tribunal has now ruled that the man is entitled to make a claim for compensation because he was “a victim of a crime of violence”.

The judgment comes after a long legal battle during which the man was represented by the law firm BL Claims Solicitors.

The firm submitted an application on his behalf to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) five years ago. This application was rejected by CICA, and an appeal against that decision was rejected by the First Tier Tribunal.

Judge Levenson considered the case after BL Claims Solicitors successfully submitted an application for judicial review to the Upper Tier Tribunal.

The man was represented throughout the process by Malcolm Johnson, senior associate at BL Claims Solicitors, who said: “This judgment is a landmark ruling for people such as my client, who previously were given no hope of receiving any compensation despite their often severe and debilitating conditions.

“The law on this type of case was thought to be settled – that is to say that a person bringing a claim to the CICA for genetic disorders caused by incestuous relationships would not be successful.

“This significant judgment of Judge Levenson now establishes that such a claim can be made. We are delighted to have achieved this result for our client, which effectively opens the door for people who have suffered genetic health problems as the result of a criminal act to seek compensation.”

Following Judge Levenson’s ruling, the CICA has obtained permission to appeal the judgment, which means the case will now go to the Court of Appeal for a further ruling.

The full judgment of the Upper Tier Tribunal can be found on the website of the British and Irish Legal Institute at http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKUT/AAC/2016/202.html

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