When a person is convicted of an offence in Singapore, the court may order the offender to compensate the victim through a Compensation Order. This is because Section 359 of the Criminal Procedure Code 2010 makes it mandatory for the court to consider a compensation order when convicting an offender. In general, compensation orders can be made for any offence punishable by law in Singapore.
What is a Compensation Order?
A compensation order allows you or your representative to recover compensation without having to sue for it. This is especially useful in cases where suing might be an inadequate or impractical course of action.
If granted, the compensation order will be made in addition to the offender’s existing sentence, such as a jail term and/or a fine.
When does the Court issue a Compensation Order?
The court will issue a compensation order only if it is appropriate to do so. This could be when the compensation amount is easily determinable, where suing the offender is not a more appropriate remedy, or where the compensation order will not cause immoderate hardship to the offender.
The compensation amount to be determined by the court should be sufficient for the victim to make up for the losses suffered. For instance, if the victim incurs medical bills due to injuries caused by the offender, the compensation amount will include the full amount of such bills. However, the amount of compensation ordered will not exceed what would be reasonably obtainable in a lawsuit. The severity of the offence does not affect the compensation amount.
The court may find it appropriate to make a compensation order in cases such as:
- Domestic abuse of maids
- Causing harm
Payment of the Compensation
If the court orders the offender to pay the victim compensation, it may be paid through:
- Seizure and sale of any property that the offender might own, with proceeds from the sale going to the victim;
- Appointing a receiver to take possession and sell any property owned by the offender, with the proceeds from the sale going to the victim;
- Searching the offender and confiscating any money found on them, up to the full amount of compensation
Non-payment of compensation could result in imprisonment for the duration decided by the court. However, if the court decides not to call for compensation, the victim may still be able to claim compensation under the Community Justice Centre’s Victim Assistance Scheme (VAS).
Engaging a Lawyer
As crime victims are not guaranteed compensation for harm caused by offenders, it is best to consult a lawyer who will be able to guide you through your options.
Mr. Amarjit Singh Sidhu of Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years, from traffic offences, high-profile criminal cases – to family and divorce matters. With a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws and a wealth of experience, Mr. Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, feel free to contact us for a consultation.