Child Accident and Compensation, how fair is the system?

For anybody whose child was in an accident and compensation was received the court system provides that any compensation is invested until they reach the mature age of 18.  Whether this is for a 4-year-old child or a 12 year old teenager the idea is always that the money should be secure and should be invested for the benefit of the injured person to be available for whatever life brings to them when they turn 18.  Over the years I have had mixed feelings about releasing funds to young enthusiastic 18-year-olds who may not be fully mature to use the funds in a sensible way. Funds have been wasted on fast cars and loose living by some people.  Others are firmly in the control of their parents still and they ensure that the funds are properly used to the child’s benefit.

The problem has arisen recently with the investment of funds under €20,000.  It is well known that interest rates are now at a record low level and the reality of this came home to me recently . I received a cheque for an amount which was invested some 5 years ago when the client turned 18.  The amount that came back was less than what was invested.  2 days later I received a two-page letter from the office of the accountant in the High Court outlining their difficulties in obtaining any return on the funds which they had entrusted to outside Money Managers under the court system.

This is not good enough!

The court service made great play of the fact they were modernising the system for investment of monies and were appointing outside brokers/money managers to assist them.  On further investigation it seems that all compensation amounts under €20,000 were simply left in a cash account.  On the basis that no cash account gets minimal interest this cannot be the best use of the funds on behalf of the injured persons.

I’ve written to the office of the accountant asking why they do not fire the money managers they have and deploy ones who can manage the money in a more productive manner.  I’m still waiting for reply although I’m told it will be brought to the attention of the president of the High Court the person ultimately responsible for the management of these funds (amongst numerous other duties he holds).

What can be done if you’re in this situation?

My suggestion is that you make an enquiry directly to the office of the accountant in the High Court Four Courts Dublin 7 as to their policy in relation to any particular funds that you or yours may have invested in that office. What is the expectation of growth in that figure when it comes to the pay out. It is not widely known that the payout also suffers a reduction for fees charged by the money managers this is deducted by way of a stamp duty on the final cheque and again is a tax on the unfortunate person which reduces their compensation amount and on over which they have no control.

I wonder would Joe Duffy like to investigate this and see what happens?