Jimmy Saville victims can be paid compensation from his estate, high court judge rules

Distribution of the assets of a scheme to compensate Jimmy Savile's victims has received final approval from a High Court judge.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 27th July 2016, 5:16 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th July 2016, 6:19 pm

Lawyers acting for the executors of Savile’s estate say 166 individuals are receiving a total of £2.3 million from the scheme and other sources.

Law firm Osborne Clarke says £1.16 million is being paid to 78 of those claimants directly out of the estate, which was worth £4.3m when the paedophile DJ died in 2011, aged 84, without facing prosecution.

Critics have expressed “disappointment” at the level of individual awards, reported to average £13,000, though it has been stressed settlements vary in amounts.

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Osborne Clarke, who acted for NatWest bank in its role as estate executor, has become the target of criticism after charging total legal fees exceeding £1m.

But Mr Justice Warren, sitting in London, ruled the fees were reasonable and no item of expense was improper.

The judge said: “I consider that the bank has acted properly and for the due administration of the estate in operating the scheme and that the work carried out by Osborne Clarke has been appropriate. From what I have seen, I think their charges have been reasonable.”

Osborne Clarke said it had advised on the management and distribution of the Savile estate from December 2011 until its winding up this month and dealt with 271 claims involving numerous court hearings.

Its fees over four-and a-half years came to just over £1.2 million and were charged at rates discounted by more than 50%.

Any funds remaining from the estate are to be divided among defendants such as the BBC, the NHS and Barnardo’s, which have already paid out damages.

But critics expressed disappointment with the level of compensation authorised by the High Court.

Gabrielle Shaw, chief executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC), said “Survivors will be disappointed by this ruling.

“The money in cases like this is most often used by survivors to support their recovery through therapy and other interventions, and this recovery often takes years.

“We know that state resources are tremendously stretched, with GPs and others who survivors look to for support struggling to cope with the demand”.

Labour MP John Mann, who has campaigned against child sex abuse, said: “Yet again the legal profession is ruling that the legal profession should make huge profit out of people’s suffering.”

Victims launched compensation bids after Savile became the subject of an ITV television programme broadcast a year after his death.