A severely handicapped 11-year-old child has had his application for an interim payment (to enable him to buy allegedly suitable accommodation) refused by the High Court, which instead awarded a lower sum. Harry Brown was left brain damaged and wheelchairdependent following a drug overdose shortly after his birth and is bringing a clinical negligence claim against the hospital concerned. The property claimed to be suitable for his accommodation needs was set in 4.6 acres with a valuation of £1m.

The High Court determined that a more sensible way to provide suitable accommodation would be to purchase and alter a more modest bungalow. Following existing case law, the court applied a two stage test. At the first stage of the assessment, the cost of the accommodation was considered on a conservative basis, and the interim payment was to reflect a reasonable proportion of that assessment. For the second stage of the test, if it could confidently be predicted that the trial judge would order a higher capital sum, the consideration of additional elements of future loss would be permitted.  

In this instance the net figure for the cost of reasonable accommodation was deemed to be £726,601. A reasonable proportion of this assessment was considered to be 90% and so an interim payment of £645k was awarded.