Settling claims by minors & court approval – consultation launched on possible reform in Northern Ireland

Among the many issues highlighted by Lord Justice Gillen’s 2017 review of civil justice in NI was the absence of a process for approving settlements in claims involving minors and in which proceedings had not been issued. The Gillen group’s view was that “serious consideration [should] be given to introducing legislation to make court approval of legal settlements of financial cases involving minors mandatory.” The consultation paper issued on 7 July 2021 by the Department of Justice NI now takes that forward and sets out possible options for reform (including ‘no change’). Responses are due by 24 September.

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COVID-19 injury claims – emerging trends?

We commented upon the emerging trends in relation to COVID-19 injury claims in December 2020 and noted the surprisingly low number of claims registered with the Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU), based on statistics to mid November 2020. 

From statistics obtained from the Department of Work and Pensions, we can see that the number of claims registered with the CRU remains relatively low, despite the significant number of infections within the UK population over the Winter period.

We can see that the number of claims registered with the CRU – 2/3 of which relate to employers’ liability – gathered some momentum from September 2020, albeit that monthly levels are still low, averaging around 10 new cases per month. The CRU data is broken down by a range of factors in the remainder of this post.

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Out of COVID-19 lockdown and into new territory? QOCS is still coming to Scotland…

By Scottish Ministerial order, Qualified One-way Costs Shifting (QOCS) is to apply to Scottish personal injury claims – including disease claims and fatality claims – litigated from 30 June 2021. To recap, QOCS is a departure from the usual ‘loser pays’ approach to legal costs and expenses. The guiding principles of QOCS are (i) promoting access to justice in these types of case by generally protecting losing pursuers (hence ‘one way’) from having to meet successful defenders’ costs and (ii) at the same time enabling the removal of that protection in limited specific circumstances (hence ‘qualified’).

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