Stringman (a minor) v McArdle: CA 1994

The young plaintiff, under a disability, had asked for an interim payment of andpound;100,000 to adapt a house already bought. McCullough J upheld the refusal of the district judge to make that interim payment, taking the view that the plans for the conversion of the house were over-elaborate and might leave the plaintiff insufficiently provided for by way of future care.
Held: In order to obtain an interim payment, the plaintiff was not to be required to demonstrate any particular need beyond the general need to be paid damages as soon as reasonably possible. The court should not, when considering whether to order such a payment, investigate how the money was going to be used. The court was confident that the claimant was going to recover damages at trial which would substantially exceed the aggregate of the sums sought by way of an interim payment and those sums already paid. Any expenditure would be subject to the control of the Court of Protection.
Stuart-Smith LJ said: ‘The error into which the judge fell in this case was, in my opinion, when he concerned himself with what was to be done with the damages in the hands of the plaintiff or those responsible for her care. Once the threshold conditions in RSC Ord.29, r.11(1), sub-paragraphs (a), (b) or (c) are satisfied, what the court has to do, if it thinks fit, is to make an interim payment of such amount as it thinks just not exceeding a reasonable proportion of the damages which in the opinion of the court are likely to be recovered by the plaintiff after taking into account contributory negligence and any set-off or counterclaim. It should be noted that the plaintiff does not have to demonstrate any particular need over and above the general need that a plaintiff has to be paid his or her damages as soon as reasonably may be done. It will generally be appropriate and just to make an order where there will be some delay until the final disposal of the case. Therefore what the court is concerned with in fixing the quantum is that it does not exceed a reasonable proportion of the damages which in the opinion of the court are likely to be recovered. It is quite clear here that the amount will on any basis substantially exceed the sum of andpound;187,000, which is the sum awarded by way of interim payment to date plus the andpound;100,000 which is now sought. That is all the judge should have been concerned with. In the case of an adult of sound mind, the court making an order under RSC Ord.29, r.11 is not concerned in any way with what the plaintiff does with his damages. In the case of an infant, the money will normally be paid into court and then the next friend will apply to the district judge for payment out as and when the money is required. Where the Court of Protection is concerned, it is for that court to decide how and when the money is to be spent.’


Stuart-Smith LJ


[1994] 1 WLR 1653


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedBrown ( A Minor) v Emery QBD 4-Mar-2010
The court considered an application for an interim payment to fund the purchase of suitable accommodation in which the child claimant might spend periods of time with her parents and sibling and ultimately reside on discharge, at a cost of . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Personal Injury, Damages

Updated: 02 May 2022; Ref: scu.402546