Claims involving a child—the court approval hearing
Claims involving a child—the court approval hearing

The following PI & Clinical Negligence guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Claims involving a child—the court approval hearing
  • When court approval is required
  • Approval prior to proceedings being issued
  • Approval post proceedings being issued
  • Costs
  • Anonymity orders

When court approval is required

Any settlement, compromise or payment arising from a claim on behalf of, or against, a child is not binding unless it has been approved by the court.

A compromise involving a child needs to be approved:

  1. first, because the court needs to be satisfied that the compromise is fair: it protects children from any mistakes by their legal advisors or from pressure to settle a case quickly for less than it is worth

  2. secondly, because a court-approved compromise protects the defendant as it ensures that they are properly discharged from the claim

  3. finally, because the court ensures that the money is protected and properly looked after by being invested on behalf of the child until they reach adulthood

See Practice Note: Claims involving a child—Investment of damages.

As a compromise on behalf of a child is not valid until it has been approved by the court, either party may withdraw from the agreement prior to approval being granted, although the doctrine of estoppel may be available to the other party.

The child and the litigation friend must usually attend the approval hearing, unless there is a good reason for them not to.

Approval prior to proceedings being issued

Where settlement is reached before proceedings have begun and the sole purpose of proceedings is to o