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Introduction to the court funds office

Introduction

Who we help

Our customers are those involved in Civil Litigation in the Courts throughout Northern Ireland. The majority of our work is in relation to minors and people who under the Mental Health Order 1986 are unable to manage their property and financial affairs.

We effectively provide banking services for these individuals accounting for money paid into Court and where necessary forward cases for investment advice, to the Court appointed stockbrokers.

The Accountant General is responsible for the proper control and investment needs of all monies paid into Court for minors and persons under disability. He is also responsible for the proper control of payments made in satisfaction of Court Orders, statutory deposits and unclaimed balances.

What we do

The Court Funds Office are bound by the Rules of the Court of Judicature, County Court Rules and the Court Funds Rules. We have the authority to accept payments into Court ie. High Court Bail money, Civil Bill lodgements and Special Account lodgements and to hold this money until we are instructed to pay it out. We aim to provide an efficient service, paying interest rates that are competitive to those paid by private institutions. These rates are currently 0.5% for Minors and Patients and 0.3% for Civil Bills, Special Accounts and Bail Money. We are committed to customer satisfaction and make certain service commitments to you. (See our Office Standards policy)

Types of Cases dealt with by Court Funds

Litigation

If you sue another party (this could be an organisation) through the County Court or the High Court, money may be lodged by the defendant’s representative before settlement. Money lodged for High Court cases does not accrue interest until after the 21st day of lodgement and after the 28th day for County Court cases. The Court Funds Office will hold this money until we are authorised on the completion of the case by Court Order or Notice of Acceptance (High Court cases only) to release the funds.

Awards made to children

When money is paid into Court for the benefit of a minor we will hold and invest these funds until the minor’s eighteenth birthday unless the Court Order instructs us to do otherwise. If money from the fund is required for the child before their eighteenth birthday the guardian can apply to the Court where the original award was made for a payment out. (See our leaflet "Compensation Awarded to a Minor", available from the Court Funds Office, NI Court Service Information Centre in Laganside House, Belfast or your local County Court Office). The Court will then instruct Court Funds Office via a Court Order if a payment is granted. This payment can be made via BACS directly into your bank account if bank account number and sort code are provided at Court.

We invest minors’ funds in two ways depending on the amount of the award and the age of the minor:

  1. We seek advice from our stockbrokers on the investment of the funds in Government Gilts and certain Investment Trusts (for amounts over £5,000 where the minor is under 14 years of age).
  2. If under £5,000 the funds will be placed in a Deposit Account which pays competitive gross rates, currently 0.5%, with instant access (required if a payment out is granted by the Court).

For more information about investment protocol please click this link.

Funds held for Persons Under Disability

We hold monies and investments for these customers who are unable to manage their own financial affairs.

We provide a banking service dependant on the individual’s needs and where necessary forward files to the Court appointed stockbrokers for investment advice.

Unclaimed Sums

Court Funds Office are responsible for maintaining and managing the Unclaimed Balance Fund. This fund is made up of :

  1. Money paid into court which has not been claimed after a reasonable time.
  2. Money paid into Court where the rightful owner cannot be found.(For further information see Quick Link Unclaimed Funds).

We have a list of all cases in the Unclaimed Balance Fund. If you would like further information on this please contact us by email: courtfundsoffice@courtsni.gov.uk

If you believe you are entitled to any of this money we will provide you with information on how to claim.

Back to main Court Funds Office page