Child abuse compensation claims: certainty in uncertain times

May 19, 2020
Zahra Awaiz-Bilal - Associate Solicitor in the Abuse team

Posted by: Zahra Awaiz-Bilal


We are all feeling uncertain about a number of things at present but one thing which is certain is the dedication of our child abuse solicitors to ensuring that there is minimum, if any, impact of the current COVID-19 situation on our clients and their compensation claims.

Whilst many others were overcome with panic about the changes they will need to implement to make things work, our flexible working policy – which has been in place since 2003 – meant that we had all the right mechanisms in place to continue to work seamlessly, without losing any time and avoiding any delay to our client’s cases.

The need to avoid delay is of paramount importance in child abuse claims because there are specific time limits which apply to when a claim should have been brought.  In the majority of the claims, the time limit has expired and therefore the sooner you act the more likely we are to be able to persuade the court to allow your claim to proceed out of time.

Given our vast experience of working closely with survivors of child abuse, we understand the very personal nature of the harm suffered by our clients and the particular sensitivities surrounding the nature of their claims.  We have therefore long developed a system of working, which ensures that our clients’ needs are always at the forefront of everything we do and met as best as possible.  In recognising that this is even more important now, we want to highlight the following:

  • Communication

We know how difficult it can be for our clients to make that initial contact, especially for those who may be disclosing the abuse for the first time.  This is likely to be even more difficult at the moment, with lockdown meaning that many of us are surrounded by other family members most of the time.

However, the benefit of not operating as a strict 9am to 5pm office means that our solicitors can be contacted out of normal business hours.  All you need to do is tell us what time works best for you.  But that’s not all.  We also understand that contact by telephone may not be a suitable option right now and so we provide a range of options for you to contact us:

  1. Email: you can email any solicitor directly in the child abuse department or you can send an email to info@boltburdonkemp.co.uk and a member of our team will contact you;
  2. Text: you can send a text message to any solicitor directly in the child abuse department, letting us know when and how to contact you;
  3. Online form: you can complete this form;
  4. Twitter: you can follow our solicitors on Twitter, @BoltBurdonKemp and send a message;
  5. Post: you can send a letter addressed to the child abuse team at Bolt Burdon Kemp, Providence House, Providence Place, Islington, LONDON, N1 0NT

Whichever method you choose to communicate with us, a solicitor will be on hand to advice you on your case and address any questions you may have.

  • Team work

Given the complex issues involved in child abuse claims, we will often need to work with a team of people to achieve the best outcome for our clients.  This typically includes barristers and medical experts such as psychiatrists.

Since the onset of COVID-19 restrictions, our team of barristers and experts have made themselves equally accessible, conducting meetings and appointments by telephone or by video via Skype and Zoom.  This has allowed us to put together all the information and evidence we need to continue to progress our clients’ cases.

  • Opponents and courts

In ensuring that we are doing all we can to avoid unnecessary delays to our clients’ claims, we are also keeping the pressure on our opponents to make sure that they are not using the current situation as a tactic to their advantage or as a reason for their lack of action.

Like most organisations, the courts have embraced the use of technology and as far as possible have proceeded with court hearings by telephone or video.  The use of electronic filing for important court documents and the acceptance of electronic bundles means that obtaining court orders or the decision of a judge on an important issue in the case remains as viable an option post COVID-19 as it was pre COVID-19.

  • Settlement

Our aim is always to deal swiftly with our clients’ claims, as we know our clients need closure and want to be able to move forward with their lives.  The current restrictions have not impacted that aim in any way.  By making settlement offers in writing, inviting our opponents to joint settlement meetings by video or negotiating over the telephone, we have settled a number of high value cases in the last couple of months and will continue to do so.

As a firm, we pride ourselves on our client care and our ability to prioritise our clients’ needs.  In these uncertain times, you can be certain that this remains our main focus and we will continue to do all we can to seek justice for you.

Zahra Awaiz-Bilal is an associate solicitor in the Abuse team at Bolt Burdon Kemp.  If you feel you may have a claim or are enquiring on behalf of a loved one, contact Zahra free of charge and in confidence on 020 7288 4839 or at zahraawaiz-bilal@boltburdonkemp.co.uk.  Alternatively, complete this form and one of the solicitors in the Abuse team will contact you.  Find out more about the Abuse Team.

Posted by: Zahra Awaiz-Bilal

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