Minors: A Guide Through the Courts

A person under eighteen years of age, a minor, cannot pursue a cause of action through the Courts on their own. They require an adult to represent them. The adult is usually the minor’s parent, guardian, or a family member. They are known as the minor’s “next friend.” This next friend must sign an authorisation consenting to the proceedings and this is lodged with the Court. 

The time limits within which a minor can institute court proceeding is two years from the date of their eighteenth birthday. This differs to the time limits within which an adult must pursue a cause of action - an adult must commence their cause of action within two years from the date of their injury or, in certain situations, two years from the date of knowledge of their injury. 

If an offer of settlement is made by the defendant in the case or where a sum of money has been lodged in Court by the defendant, an application is made to the Court, by the minor’s next friend, to decide whether that sum of money should be accepted, or the action should go to trial.

The Court will order that any award payable to the minor be lodged in court and invested for their benefit in such manner as the Court may consider advisable. If the minor is to shortly reach the age of majority- eighteen years of age - the court may agree that the sum be paid to a responsible adult until the minor’s eighteenth birthday. 

When the minor reaches eighteen, an application is made to the Court seeking the payment out of the sum invested. Upon the Court being satisfied that the minor has reached their majority (a birth certificate must be provided to the Court), an order will be made for the payment of the sum to the applicant who is now an adult. 

Should you require advise on pursuing a cause of action on behalf of a minor, contact Tormeys Solicitors LLP today whose experienced litigation team will be happy to assist.

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