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Spurred by the implementation of plans in Great Britain, New Zealand, and California; and by various other federal and state proposals, the concept of state compensation to victims of violent crimes has recently become the subject of wide public interest and intensive legal debate. In essence, the concept envisages some scheme by which the victims of crimes of violence can be compensated for any losses resulting from their criminally inflicted injuries.

Before any proposals based on this conception are adopted they should be shown to have a valid theoretical framework, supported by sound legal principles, with an effective and efficient system of administration. The purpose of this note is to examine existing plans and proposals to determine whether they possess these essential characteristics. On this basis a discussion of compensation embraces three central areas of concern: (1) the various rationales proposed as a basis for a compensation scheme; (2) legal analogies and precedents to which such a plan can be related; and (3) the practical difficulties involved in implementing a compensation plan. Although certain aspects of compensation have been discussed in depth elsewhere, it is hoped that a more complete discussion which centers on this three-part analysis will provide a new direction to subsequent analysis.


Criminal Law | Law | Torts