Minor settlements, major problem for young people in Northern Ireland

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Consultation on Court approval of Children’s Compensation Claims

Closes on 24th September 2021

For five years, the legal profession has been calling for a change to how personal injury claims for children or so-called ‘minor settlements’ are dealt with by insurance companies, closing a loophole in the law whereby those  companies use sophisticated processes to  liaise directly with a child’s parent / guardian to agree the claim amount – often without important information such as medical reports – and without placing the compensation under the protection of the court until the child reaches 18.

We are calling for it to be made mandatory that in all personal injury cases concerning children under 18, regardless of the amount of compensation, that a judge approves an adequate sum that compensates the injured child and that the agreed compensation is placed under the protection of the court until the child reaches the age of 18.

Lord Justice Gillen’s review of Civil Justice in Northern Ireland in September 2017 proposed new legislation to compel a requirement for court approval in all legal cases involving a settlement or award of damages to minors.

Listen To The Children's Compensation Consultation Radio Interview

Listen to Maurece Hutchinson speak with Frank Mitchel on U105 regarding the Children’s Compensation Consultation

We can collectively make a difference by replying to the consultation on court approval of children’s compensation claims which is current open, closing on 24th September.

MAKE YOUR VIEWS HEARD HERE - CLICK HERE

Why this is important?

This consultation is so important as it’s about stopping malpractice from continuing. It’s about ensuring the right amount of compensation goes to the right person.

A change in the law is needed to ensure:

  1. The right amount of compensation goes to the young person and is held in court funds until they reach the age of 18 – regardless of the amount.
  2. That injured children receive an adequate sum that compensates fully for the damage caused.
  3. That insurance companies, representing the ‘at-fault party’ are not the ones deciding on the amount for compensation.
  4. The engagement of medical and legal experts to ensure compensation is appropriate.
  5. A minor’s right to compensation is protected in law until such times as they need to access those funds.
  6. The rights of children are protected in law.

Please complete the consultation NOW

A response will take approximately 15 minutes but can positively impact on the compensation and protection of compensation funds for children and young persons in Northern Ireland for years to come.

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How you can support

We need to protect injured children’s rights and you can take action now.

We believe that ALL settlements of compensation for a child, regardless of the sum of compensation involved, should be approved by the court and the funds managed under the direction of the court until the child reaches the age of 18.

This should become mandatory and would avoid the potential of abuse of the law, which the current legal position allows for.

  • Please download the supporting social media graphic here and share it on social media to raise awareness.
  • Please share this website with your colleagues / other stakeholders and urge them to make their opinion count

Please complete the consultation NOW

We can collectively make a difference by replying to the consultation on court approval of children’s compensation claims which is current open, closing on 24th September.

Download response form and email here
Respond online here

Young Person’s Consultation

There is also a ‘Young Person’s Consultation’ and we could encourage Young People to read over and complete this simple document as it’s their rights that we’re protecting.

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Proposed responses to consultation

“Our children are entitled to be legally represented in their own right and this consultation is our opportunity to ensure this change is made to the law. That’s why it’s imperative that a judge independently approves the compensation sum for a minor as they will have access to a child’s medical reports and can ensure the sum awarded reflects the extent of the injury.

Secondly, it’s the injured child’s compensation therefore it’s only right and just that the awarded compensation funds be held securely for the child’s own use in the future. This is our chance to make the change and protect children’s rights.”

Maurece HutchinsonManaging Director, JMK Solicitors

To assist interested parties in formulating a response, we have created points for consideration that we would encourage people to read over and select – if appropriate – when responding to the consultation.

POINTS FOR CONSIDERATION - CLICK HERE

Please complete the consultation NOW

A response will take approximately 15 minutes but can positively impact on the compensation and protection of compensation funds for children and young persons in Northern Ireland for years to come.

MAKE YOUR VIEWS HEARD HERE - CLICK HERE