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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Ogden tables updated to include multipliers at -1.75% for Northern Ireland claims

This afternoon the Government Actuary’s Department released an amended version of the Ogden tables which now includes the new discount rate of -1.75 for Northern Ireland. The relevant webpage of the GAD’s site explains that “Under the Damages (Personal Injury) Order (Northern Ireland) 2021, made under section 1 of the Damages Act 1996, the prescribed discount rate to be taken into account by the courts in Northern Ireland when assessing lump sum damages awards for personal injury was lowered from 2.5% to -1.75% with effect from 31 May 2021. As the tables of multipliers in the original 8th edition of the Ogden Tables are not tabulated at a discount rate of -1.75% updated tables have been issued. The text of the Explanatory notes has been updated and a number of other minor typographical amendments have also been made.”

Alistair Kinley, Director of Policy & Government Affairs, BLM

NI discount rate: new Bill passes second stage but further progress unclear for now

Although the Damages (Return on Investment) Bill passed its second stage in the Assembly at just after half past three this afternoon, the scheduling of its Committee stage remains unclear and contested. We have already written about the evident tension between the Justice Minister and the Committee that was all too clear in pre-legislative hearings and was again present in today’s debate.

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