Compensation claimants – including children and the elderly – saw their awards eroded by £140m last year.
This article was published in the Observer on Saturday 30 July 2011.
Compensation claimants who deposited their awards with the Court Funds Office (CFO) suffered a £140m erosion in value last year as inflation ate into their money.
The CFO provides banking and administration services for about 140,000 people, the majority of whom have received personal injury awards and rely on income from their award to fund medical care and specialist support. The clients include children who suffered from medical negligence at birth, people who have become mentally incapacitated through a road traffic accident, and elderly people suffering from dementia. Money may also be deposited in the funds while waiting for the settlement of a civil court action.
Anthony Fairweather, a partner with Bristol law firm Clarke Willmott, acts as a deputy – a person appointed by the court of protection to manage the affairs of someone who lacks the mental capacity to manage them. Such deputies may be professional, such as a solicitor, or a lay person – usually a family member of the person concerned. In the case of very large awards the deputy is usually professional. “In both cases, the deputies may not review arrangements often enough, or feel confident about moving money away from the CFO,” he says.