Special Considerations When Settling Personal Injury Claims For Minors in Ontario


All children are in need of protection. Courts in Ontario have inherent jurisdiction to protect children. When a child suffers an injury due to an accident caused by the negligence of another person, there are legal protections afforded to that child.  For instance, in Ontario, no settlement of a claim of a child is legally binding until an Ontario Court approves the settlement. Also, the funds payable to a child as part of any settlement shall be paid into Court and held by the accountant of the Superior Court of Justice, unless there are special circumstances (i.e. disabled child requiring funds for medical devices).  The general rule is that the funds will be held in a very conservative investment (usually simply a bank account) until the minor reaches the age of majority which in Ontario is 18. When the child turns 18, the child can ask the funds to be released.  Prior to reaching the age of 18, the chid’s legal guardian can ask for some of the funds to be released for special circumstances, but the guardian must obtain Court approval. 


Pursuing claims on behalf of minors (persons under the age of eighteen (18) presents certain challenges for personal injury lawyers as there are special procedural requirements when handling claims for children. For instance, all decisions must be made by a legal guardian such as a parent. If it is necessary to advance a claim in Court, a litigation guardian must be appointed on behalf of the child to make decisions. The litigation guardian is also usually a parent and a parent can simultaneously be both the legal guardian and litigation guardian.


In unusual circumstances, the Court may also require a guardian ad litem. A guardian ad litem is usually a lawyer employed by the Provincial Office of the Children’s Lawyer. That lawyer will review the settlement and advise the Court on the appropriateness of the settlement and whether the settlement is in the best interests of the injured child. 


The specific Rule of the Court that applies to approval of infant (minors) settlements is Rule 7 which, in part states as follows:




Settlement Requires Judge’s Approval


7.08 (1) No settlement of a claim made by or against a person under disability, whether or not a proceeding has been commenced in respect of the claim, is binding on the person without the approval of a judge.


(2) Judgment may not be obtained on consent in favour of or against a party under disability without the approval of a judge.


Where no Proceeding Commenced


(3) Where an agreement for the settlement of a claim made by or against a person under disability is reached before a proceeding is commenced in respect of the claim, approval of a judge shall be obtained on an application.


Material Required for Approval


(4) On a motion or application for the approval of a judge under this rule, there shall be served and filed with the notice of motion or notice of application,


(a) an affidavit of the litigation guardian setting out the material facts and the reasons supporting the proposed settlement and the position of the litigation guardian in respect of the settlement;


(b) an affidavit of the lawyer acting for the litigation guardian setting out the lawyer’s position in respect of the proposed settlement;


(c) where the person under disability is a minor who is over the age of sixteen years, the minor’s consent in writing, unless the judge orders otherwise; and


(d) a copy of the proposed minutes of settlement.


Notice to Children’s Lawyer or Public Guardian and Trustee


(5) On a motion or application for the approval of a judge under this rule, the judge may direct that the material referred to in subrule (4) be served on the Children’s Lawyer or on the Public Guardian and Trustee as the litigation guardian of the party under disability and may direct the Children’s Lawyer or the Public Guardian and Trustee, as the case may be, to make an oral or written report stating any objections he or she has to the proposed settlement and making recommendations, with reasons, in connection with the proposed settlement.




7.09 (1) Any money payable to a person under disability under an order or a settlement shall be paid into court, unless a judge orders otherwise.


(2) Any money paid to the Children’s Lawyer on behalf of a person under disability shall be paid into court, unless a judge orders otherwise.


In every case, the Court will base its decision on the best interests of the child.


The resolution of personal injury claims of children is complex and adds additional expenses. However, the steps are necessary and must be followed.  If you are the legal guardian or parent of a child who was injured, you should seek the legal advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer to assist in the processing of the child’s personal injury claim.



At Quinn Thiele Mineault Grodzki LLP, we provide free consultations and charge based on a percentage of the recovery with no money down. We handle all the formalities and procedural requirements.


Marc Quinn

QTMG Personal Injury Lawyers

613-315-4878 or 613-563-1131