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Anonymity extended for vulnerable personal injury claimants

Landmark ruling affects children and protected parties in cases where there has been a negotiated settlement.

In a ruling announced earlier this week, the Court of Appeal has said that children and protected parties in medical negligence and personal injury cases should not be publicly named unless anonymity is unnecessary or inappropriate.


This judgement has reversed the current default position, where claimants who are seeking anonymity in relation to a negotiated settlement must make a formal application to the court.


What might this mean for my personal injury claim?


This judgement will affect personal injury claims where the claimant is a child (someone under 18) or where they are a protected party (someone who, for whatever reason, lacks the mental capacity to make certain decisions for themselves).


Until this week’s judgement, these vulnerable claimants had been on an uneven footing in respect of anonymity because, unlike the majority of people who make personal injury claims and who are non-protected parties, their undisputed settlements must always be subject to court approval. This meant that the settlements could be reported on by the press unless a specific application for anonymity had been made.


However, in this latest judgement, the Court of Appeal supported the argument that the pursuit of open justice meant that the court should be ‘more willing to recognise a need to protect the interests of claimants who are children and protected parties, including their right and that of their families to respect for their privacy’. The court also said that the public interest in these cases ‘may usually be served without the need for disclosure of the claimant’s identity’.


A Personal Injury Solicitor’s viewpoint


Here at Canter Levin & Berg, we spoke to Phil Scott, one of our specialist Personal Injury Solicitors, who explained why he thought it was about time that vulnerable claimants were treated equally in respect of their rights to anonymity:


“I think the promotion of consistency and even-handedness should always be welcomed in the execution of the Law and I think it is very hard to argue against that. It is important for those who have a disadvantaged position in society to be afforded the same rights as the rest of the general population.

At Canter Levin & Berg we regularly enable the settlement of high-value cases involving children and protected parties. The protection of anonymity for these people (and by extension, their families) is vital to minimise the risk of exploitation.”

For more information about making a Personal Injury claim, please call our claims helpline on 0151 239 1180.

By Philip Scott