- Just 22 out of 58 payout claims against Jimmy Savile have been accepted amid warnings that his estate may be swallowed up by legal fees… leaving nothing for genuine victims
- 58 damages claims have been considered under scheme for alleged victims
- There are more than 150 claims that still have to be processed
- The £3million left in Jimmy Savile’s estate is due to be spent on lawyers
- Victims deemed to be genuine cannot receive money until all are complete
- By which time there will be no money left in the estate for them to claim
Nothing for victims: The £3million left in Jimmy Savile’s estate will be spent on lawyers.
Almost two-thirds of the damages claims made for alleged sexual assaults by Jimmy Savile have so far been rejected.
Lawyers representing NatWest Bank, the executors of Savile’s will, told the Appeal Court last week that out of 58 claims which have so far been considered under a controversial compensation scheme, 36 have been thrown out, and just 22 accepted.
The scheme, set up by the bank, was approved in April by a High Court judge, and then advertised in newspapers. The hearing also confirmed that the whole of Savile’s estate is certain to be swallowed up in legal fees – leaving nothing for genuine victims.
Last month, The Mail on Sunday revealed that police have launched a criminal inquiry into a claim from Savile’s great-niece, Caroline Robinson, who says he abused her when she was aged 12 and 15. Members of her family, including her daughter, have told police they believe her allegations are false.
The court heard that of the £3 million left in Savile’s estate, just over £1 million is due to NatWest’s solicitors, Osborne Clarke.
There are more than 150 claims that still have to be processed, and under the scheme’s terms, another £2 million will be due to the law firms that represent alleged victims. Osborne Clarke’s bills take precedence over all other claims on the estate. But victims deemed to be genuine cannot receive a penny until all compensation claims are complete – by which time the pot will be empty.
Last week’s hearing was a bid by the Savile Trust, the charity to which Savile left almost all his money, to get the compensation scheme quashed and NatWest removed as executors.
The three judges expressed astonishment at the way the scheme works, and at the low level of scrutiny for weeding out fraudulent claims.
A small group of ‘consultants’ is being given only two-line summaries of each claim, containing few details.
The judges also pressed NatWest’s lawyers to explain how the scheme’s ‘tariff’ of damages – which provides for payouts from £1,500 to £60,000, as well as the enormous associated legal fees – had been calculated.
The judges said the bank had an ‘obligation’ to provide evidence of this, but NatWest failed to do so, saying only that the scheme had emerged after months of ‘negotiation’.
It was clear the hearing itself will only add to the dizzying legal costs.
There were seven QCs in court, representing the Trust, NatWest, the BBC, NHS, Barnardo’s and some of the alleged victims, as well as numerous solicitors and junior barristers.
Lady Justice Gloster, one of three judges hearing the application, commented: ‘There are so many lawyers at this party, I cringe.’ The Savile Trust had tried to ensure that there would only be its own lawyers and those representing the bank in attendance, but the bank rejected this, describing the suggestion as ‘preposterous’. NatWest and Osborne Clarke have refused to comment.
Judgment was reserved.