How to get compensation from the State as a crime victim?
Sponsored content by ING • Brand Voice •Expat Corner• 22.10.2020
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You have been the victim of a deliberate violent offence in the European Union (EU), but the offender cannot compensate you? Did you know that you can obtain compensation from the State for the injuries you have suffered? In the Grand-Duchy, the Law of 12 March 1984 regulates the national scheme compensation. How does it work?
In which cases can you be compensated?
You must meet the following conditions to qualify for compensation in Luxembourg.
Firstly, you must be a victim of a deliberate violent offence. It is considered a deliberate violent offence any crime that results from intentional acts, causing physical injury and not just material damage (which excludes, for example, compensation for simple theft), or constitutes the crime of indecent assault of rape. Besides, the injury you suffered must seriously affect your quality of life. It may be due to a loss or reduction of earnings, increased costs of exceptional expenditure, inability to work, loss of one year of schooling, physical or mental harm, moral damage or disfigurement, or physical or mental suffering. If you are the victim of indecent assault or rape, you do not have to prove physical or psychological harm as this is presumed.
Secondly, you must either have your legal and habitual residence in Luxembourg, be legally present in Luxembourg at the time of the offence, be a national of a Member State of the European Union or the Council of Europe or be a victim of human trafficking (Article 382-1 of the Criminal Code). And what if you legally and habitually reside in Luxembourg, but were the victim of violent intentional crime in another Member State of the European Union? In that case, you may claim compensation to the Luxembourg State if the other State may not compensate you.
Thirdly, compensation is payable by the State only if you cannot obtain effective and adequate compensation in another way. You did not receive any sufficient compensation from other sources such as your employer’s or a private insurance scheme, the social security services, or another State if the offence was committed abroad. The offender had not been identified or found or is declared insolvent after the outcome of the trial.
What procedure do you have to follow?
You must send your application for compensation to the Ministry of Justice, which will decide within six months. Your claim must be written in French, German or Luxembourgish and must indicate the date, place and exact nature of the acts of which you were the victim. In support of your claim, you must join documents that
provide evidence of the acts (police reports, etc.) and the injury suffered (medical certificates, etc.).
The time limit within which you have to claim compensation is two years. If the offender is prosecuted, it is extended and expires two years after the court's final decision to hear the criminal case or a subsequent civil decision. If you are a minor, the limitation period does not start before you turn 18 if the acts are punishable by criminal penalties or constitute the following offences: indecent assault, rape, human trafficking, assault with aggravating circumstances or poisoning.
After the reception of your application, the Ministry of Justice forwards it for approval to the Victims Commission, consisting of a magistrate, a senior civil servant of the Ministry of Justice and a lawyer. The Commission will summon you and question you on how the acts occurred and what injury you suffered. The hearing is not public and a lawyer or a representative from the Victim Support Service can assist you. After inquiry, the Victims Commission states if your claim is justified and how much compensation should be awarded. The Minister of Justice then decides whether or not to award compensation. The maximum amount awarded cannot exceed a ceiling set each year by Grand-Ducal Regulation. The ceiling was set at EUR 63,000 for 2020.
Can you challenge the authority’s decision if you are not satisfied?
Yes. In that case, you have to take legal actions against the State represented by the Minister of Justice and bring it before the Luxembourg or Diekirch District Court (tribunal d’arrondissement) within three months of receiving the Minister of Justice's decision. Decisions by Districts Courts are final. Neither you nor the State can appeal against their judgments.