Manchester County Court have a scheme whereby, settlement of infant personal injury claims can be approved by the Court even if the Claimant and Litigation Friend do not turn up to the hearing. The Court at Manchester issue orders with conditions for non-attendance:
In my opinion, Infant Approvals (where there is no application for a success fee deduction) are simple. It is essentially a paperwork exercise. Whether there is attendance or not at the hearing, there is nearly always a requirement for a completed Form 320, production of an original birth certificate and the production of a completed draft order. It is my practice that these documents should be on your file before the case is issued.
In the case that I dealt with, the solicitors in case were based in Blackburn and the Claimant based in Manchester. The case had already been adjourned at a hearing on 12th November 2018 on the basis that the Claimant/Litigation Friend had not attended and the conditions had not been met. I was instructed to attend the adjourned hearing on 5th February 2019. The instructions were simple, seek another adjournment because they could not get the Claimant/Litigation Friend to attend the hearing. So that’s exactly what I did. The Judge in adjourning made an order reminding the solicitors that they could comply with the conditions instead of requiring the Claimant/Litigation Friend to attend.
In this action, the solicitors have wasted their own costs in instructing two advocates when the simplest thing would have been to get the relevant paperwork in order before issuing.