On Friday 28th June Mr Justice Garrett Simons delivered a High Court judgement that supported the decision of the independent Appeals Officer to uphold the decision made on an application by Caranua regarding the introduction of the €15,000 /£12,000 limits in June 2016.
The Board and management of Caranua welcome this judgement which can be read in full here.
The case against the independent Appeals officer which was brought before the High Court concerned an application that was refused by Caranua on the grounds that the applicant had previously received in excess of €15,000 in funding supports. The independent Appeals Officer upheld Caranua’s decision and that decision became the subject of a High Court appeal.
Even though the case was taken against the independent Appeals Officer, the Board of Caranua had no option but to seek to be joined as a notice party to the appeal as the outcome could have reduced the remaining funding available for current applications from survivors of institutional abuse.
This successful outcome determined that the Board of Caranua were lawfully correct in their decision to implement the €15,000/£12,000 limit which sought to safeguard the Fund so that Survivors who applied after June 2016 would still be able to access funding supports.
As was stated in the judgment the ‘the fundamental purpose of introducing a financial cap was to ensure equitable access to the Fund, which is the specific statutory mandate given to the Board. It is the case that those who applied early to the Board for assistance prior to June 2016 would otherwise be at a significant advantage over later applicants solely by reason of their date of application, and that this would not equate with fair and equitable access to the Fund.’
The Judge found that the Board of Caranua ‘has an express statutory discretion to amend or revoke any criteria previously determined by it. Thus, the Board’s decision to publish revised guidelines in June 2016, setting out amended criteria (which included the introduction of the monetary limit of €15,000) was lawfully made under the legislation’.
The Judge also found that ‘the administration of a finite fund will necessitate the making of decisions as to what is the most equitable basis for the allocation of the fund’.