The High Court has taken the unusual step of stopping a personal injury claimant from knowing what compensation he has received.
Mr Justice Pushpinder Saini said the anonymised claimant in DXW v PXL lacked the capacity not just to litigate but to manage his financial and property affairs. The judge said it was not in the claimant’s best interests that he know his case settled for £6.675m, and made an order it would be unlawful for anyone to tell him.
The application was made by the claimant’s mother and litigation friend on both of DXW, who sustained severe physical injuries and a traumatic brain injury after an incident at work.
The claimant applied for what is known as an EXB Order, coined after the judgment of Mr Justice Foskett in EXB v FDZ in which the court made a novel form of order to prevent the injured victim from being informed about the level of damages.
In DXW, the judge made it clear that a person in the claimant’s position should ordinarily be informed of the details of a settlement award, because this would be to treat him the same way as someone without a disability. Depriving the claimant of this knowledge clearly constituted an interference with basic rights, and a ‘strict justification’ was required to depart from this principle.
In this case, the judge ruled the claimant did not have sufficient insight into or understanding of the need to keep confidential the amount of money awarded. He also did not appear to have sufficient insight to understand a settlement covers past and future losses, and is there to cover care management and his long-term assistance.
The judge declined to take evidence from the claimant, as this would undermine the protections being sought in the application.
The claimant’s deputy undertook to the court to consider any application to revoke or vary the order at least once a year.