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Child Litigation Friend

In the UK it is rare for a court to allow children to act on their own behalf and for a child to become involved in legal proceedings it is necessary to appoint someone who is referred to as a "litigation friend". An individual who is under 18 years old is legally considered to be a child.

Who can be a Litigation Friend?

Usually a Child Litigation Friend is a parent, guardian, close relative, adult friend, social worker or a court appointed person. The litigation friend, during the legal proceedings, must be prepared to protect the child's interests and make decisions on behalf of the child.

Appointment of a Child Litigation Friend

The appointment of a litigation friend will depend on the following:

  • The ability to fairly and competently conduct proceedings on the child's behalf
  • Have no interests adverse to the child
  • Will pay any adverse costs order made against the child

Court approval hearing

In some cases a settlement can often be reached before proceedings have been issued but the court must approve such a settlement. In this case, proceedings are issued by the claimant under the Civil Procedures Rules 1998 (Part 8) requesting that there is an approval hearing scheduled for the matter.

In circumstances where a settlement is reached after the proceedings have begun, both parties have to apply for an application hearing under the Civil Procedures Rules 1998 (Part 23). This hearing will not necessarily end in a final judgement.

Time Limitations for Child Injury Compensation Claims

Child injury compensation claims have the same time limits as those of adults but the difference is that the clock doesn't start running until the child reaches 18 years of age. And of course, a child can make a compensation claim, with the assistance of a litigation friend, at any time after the accident has occurred, so there is no need to wait until his or her 18th birthday.

If you believe your child is entitled to injury or accident compensation and would like more information about the implications of becoming a child litigation friend do contact us for free advice, using our simple online form.  Alternatively chat with one our Children's Accident Helpline team on 0800 433 7690