You can apply to the Scottish Ministers for compensation if you've been wrongfully convicted of or charged with a crime. This is known as a 'miscarriage of justice'.
There are 2 compensation schemes for miscarriages of justice:
- the statutory scheme – if your conviction was reversed or you were pardoned
- the ex gratia scheme – if you spent time in custody after a wrongful conviction or charge because the police or another public authority did something seriously wrong, or there were exceptional circumstances that justify the payment of compensation
In order to qualify for compensation, you must meet the eligibility criteria. The decision will be based on the individual circumstances of your case.
If the person who suffered a miscarriage of justice has died, a family member can apply for compensation on their behalf.
You may wish to get advice from a solicitor or support organisation to help you apply for miscarriage of justice compensation.
When to apply
You're required to apply for compensation within 3 years of your conviction being reversed or wrongful charge being dropped.
For example, if your conviction was reversed on 1 October 2015, you would need to apply for compensation before 1 October 2018.
The Scottish Ministers can make an exception to these time limits. But only if this is in the interests of justice or there are exceptional circumstances.