Infant Settlement Approvals Without Any Attendance new system from District Judges at Manchester CJC

  • 04/03/2019

Infant Settlement Approvals Without Any Attendance

For the first time, the District Judges of Manchester Civil Justice Centre will permit infant approval hearings to proceed without any attendance in eligible cases. The new system supersedes and replaces our existing system of excusing child claimant and litigation friend yet requiring a legal representative to attend. From now on, subject to compliance with the relevant conditions, the legal representative will also be excused.

What are the conditions?

Provisions will be set out in full in the order that lists the approval hearing. The new conditions are almost identical to the ones previously excusing child and litigation friend, although we have enlarged the value to no more than £5,000 (from £4,000). In essence, therefore, whiplash-type claims with full resolution, with no discount for liability risks and no deduction from damages. The orders should of course be read closely to ensure compliance but very many approvals should be eligible.

Is this optional?

Completely. Nothing extra is required. Upon receipt of the notice of hearing date, claimant or defendant can simply proceed as normal and attend the hearing, if so desired.

How and when do we provide the documents?

By post, no less than 14 days before the hearing. The system is designed so that no prior knowledge is required, because the notice of hearing date itself provides for the next steps if the option of non-attendance is to be taken up. The claimant’s solicitor just needs to post a covering letter and the relevant documents, including a certified (not original) copy birth certificate to the court.

What if the client wants payment to a CTF or ISA?

The order permits and provides for direct payment to a Child Trust Fund or Junior Cash ISA provided that the documents filed include the relevant details.

Will this continue indefinitely?

The system will be reviewed around one year from now but it is intended to be an ongoing facility. It is hoped that take-up will be good.

District Judge Hassall

Manchester Civil Justice Centre