One of the roles of the Court Funds Office is holding money paid into it as part of court case settlements for children.
As a rule, the CFO would hold the money in a secure account until the child turns eighteen (18) years old.
Before they reach 18, the responsibilities of the litigation friend include managing the child’s Court Funds Office account, such as:
- Applying for payments on behalf of the child (e.g. for medical bills).
- Receiving statements and tax records from HMRC.
- Making sure the contact details are accurate and kept up to date.
Your responsibilities as litigation friend would end when the child reaches 18. Another section explains how to get your court funds money when you turn 18 years old.
As a rule, the Court Funds Office would transfer the money to the child at that point. The CFO would also close the account once the child has their 18th birthday.
Note: You can appoint someone else as a child’s litigation friend if you have concerns about their conduct. You would need to apply to the same court that awarded the money to the child (details below).
Receiving Statements and Tax Records
You should get annual statements and tax vouchers for tax returns around April each year as part of keeping your pay and tax records.
If there is at least £10,000 in the child’s Court Funds Office account you also get another statement towards the end of October.
Note: You can send an email to the Court Funds Office to get a statement any time outside April and October.
Updating Contact Details with CFO
The Court Funds Office can only transfer money to the child without delays if they have accurate and current contact details for them.
The litigation friend should write to the Court Funds Office to notify them of circumstantial changes, such as:
- A change of address for the litigation friend or the child.
- A change of name for the litigation friend or for the child.
Court Funds Office
Mail: [email protected]
Apply for Payments from a CFO Account
You need to get an order from the court to access money in the Court Funds Office (CFO) account of the child.
Apply to the same court that awarded the money if you have a reason to access the child’s money before they turn 18.
You must write to the court explaining why you need the money and how you will use to benefit the child. The court will reply and inform you whether you must:
- Provide further evidence of how the child will benefit from it.
- Provide written proof of the exact costs involved.
- Attend a court hearing (in some cases the child would also need to attend).
- Pay an administration fee.
A successful application would order the Court Funds Office to make a payment. As a rule, the court would need your bank account details (unless you make a request to get paid by cheque).
Application to Replace a Child Litigation Friend
The main reason to apply to replace a child’s litigation friend is to be the contact for the CFO account. You should make the application to the same court that appointed the existing litigation friend for the child. You would need the court to make an order to get the appointment.
So, part of the process is proving to the court that the existing litigation friend is no longer available or they lack suitability for the role, such as:
- Making decisions that are not in the best interests of the child.
- They are unable to act as litigation friend (e.g. they moved abroad).
- They have since died.
Note: There is a fee (around £155) to replace a child’s litigation friend (unless you can get help with court fees).
There are four basic steps to replacing a child’s litigation friend. But, you may prefer to get legal advice to help you apply.
- Complete a certificate of suitability for the court that appointed the existing litigation friend. The purpose of this is to nominate yourself as the replacement litigation friend.
- Use Form N244 and the accompanying guidance notes to ask the court to make an order to replace the existing litigation friend.
- The form also allows you to provide an explanation why the existing litigation friend is unavailable or not suitable. You would need to give names and addresses for the existing litigation friend and parent, guardian, or carer for the child. Doing so, allows the court to ‘serve’ copies of the application to them.
- Send the completed form, the correct fee, and the certificate of suitability to the court.