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Historical Institutional Abuse Redress Board – An Update


In August 2019, Patrick Williams, Associate in the specialist abuse team at Keoghs, considered the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry and investigation into allegations of abuse in children’s residential homes run by religious, charitable and state organisations in Northern Ireland from 1922 to 1995. The inquiry made several recommendations, which included financial compensation to be administered by a redress board. Patrick Williams considered the potential implications of this recommendation here

Historical Institutional Redress Board

The Historical Institutional Abuse (Northern Ireland) Act 2019 (the ‘Act’) received Royal Assent on 5 November 2019. The Act provides the legal framework for the establishment of the Historical Institutional Abuse Redress Board.

The Redress Board is responsible for receiving and processing applications for compensation from those who experienced abuse in residential institutions in Northern Ireland between 1922 and 1995.


In order to be eligible to be considered for an award of redress, an individual must have:

  • Been a resident at an “institution” in Northern Ireland between 1922 and 1995; and​/or
  • Been sent to Australia under the Child Migrant Programme.

There is a list of relevant institutions within the rules which is updated regularly, with the last update being in May 2023.

Further, applications are also accepted on behalf of someone who died on or after 28 April 1953 if they are the deceased person’s surviving spouse, civil partner, cohabiting partner or surviving child (assuming that the child is a residual beneficiary of the deceased’s estate).



The Act sets out the amount of compensation that may be awarded, as follows:

  • A standard award payment of £10,000 only;
  • An enhanced award payment of between £10,001 and £80,000; and
  • An amount of £20,000 if the application is made by or in respect of a person who was sent to Australia under the Child Migrant Programme.

Legal costs

In addition, the Redress Board will pay an applicant’s legal costs in accordance with the tables of scale costs set out in the Costs and Expenses Protocol. The amount of costs paid is subject to the amount of compensation awarded and whether or not an oral hearing is required. Expenses may also be paid if a report is required from a psychiatrist or psychologist.

Applications will remain open until 3 April 2025.


Update on applications and financial awards

On 16 October 2023, the HIA Redress Board published its third annual report on the exercise of its function during that year.


It reports as follows:

      Number of applications

  • As at 31 March 2023, the Redress Board had received a total of 3,611 applications relating to 6,289 residential placements covering approximately 150 different institutions in Northern Ireland.
  • On average, each application names approximately 1.74 institutions.
  • Of the 1,055 applications received during this third year of operation, 396 (36%) were non-compliant with the basic mandatory information requirements of the legislation and at the end of this third year of operation, 28 applications remain non-compliant.
  • Effectively, 96% of all applications have been considered by a panel, 3% are under progress and 1% remain non-compliant.


  • As at 31 March 2023, £63,693,646 had been paid directly into the applicant or applicant’s solicitor’s account on receipt of an Acceptance of Award from the applicant.


The redress scheme in Northern Ireland is now well underway, with a large number of applications received and a number of awards made in regard to those applicants. Clearly, the redress scheme is working well and it reports that its objectives are being met.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) recommended a single Redress Scheme for victims and survivors of abuse that occurred in England and Wales, including sexual abuse by other children​. We are still waiting for the Government to respond to the recommendation: the six-month period in which to respond ended in April 2023. In May 2023, though the Home Office confirmed that a child sexual abuse redress scheme will be established in England and Wales, we have had no further response to date.

In light of the positive response to the scheme set up in Northern Ireland then no doubt the Government of England and Wales will consider its structure and objectives, as well as others, in its planning of its own redress scheme.


For more information, please contact:

Patrick Williams - Associate

Email: PatrickWilliams@keoghs.co.uk


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