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M (A Child) v LB of Lambeth & Hyde Southbank Homes Ltd (Pt 20 Defendant) [2014] EWHC 57 (QB) - 23/01/14


The Claimant had fallen from a window of a block of flats at the age of four and suffered serious injuries. He was 14 years old at the date of the hearing. The Claimant's medical expert stated that the accident had caused "significant brain impairment" however the Defendant's medical expert stated that the Claimant's impairments were probably "secondary to his inherent pattern of development". The Claimant's father, who was also his litigation friend, was no longer co-operating with the medical experts. He would not put in to place the support which was being recommended for the Claimant and instructed the Claimant's solicitors to settle the case as soon as possible. The Claimant's solicitors sought the court's guidance as to whether the father should be removed as the Claimant's litigation friend and whether the case should be settled even though the Claimant's injuries and future disabilities were unclear.

The court held that the Claimant's parents would remain uncooperative even if a new litigation friend was appointed. The best course of action was for the Claimant's solicitors to seek to negotiate a settlement on the basis of the current medical evidence, as they had been instructed by the Claimant's litigation friend. Any settlement would still require the approval of the court and it would not be appropriate for the Claimant's solicitors to pursue a settlement unless there was a reasonable prospect of the court approving it.