What is a Part 36 Offer in Personal Injury Claims?
Posted on 20th November 2019
So, Part 36 offers. We have all heard about them, right? Well probably, unless you are in the legal profession, or claimed for personal injury before, then the average person in the street may not have the feintest idea what we are on about.
Well, Part 36 of the Civil Procedure Rules, the Rules by which any civil matter (personal injury, contract, construction, libel/slander and so forth) are conducted in the courts of England and Wales. The Rules were introduced in April (the 26th of, to be precise) 1999, with the objective of clarifying, and simplifying the way civil cases are handled by solicitors, the courts, and litigants in person, alike.
For example, Part 1.2 of the CPR, states that dealing with a case justly and at proportionate costs includes, so far as is practicable:
• Ensuring the parties are on an equal footing; (for example, if a claimant in a personal injury case has legal representation, then the court, whilst not having the power to disallow the claimant’s personal injury solicitor, would take into account the lack of representation of the Defendant, for example in the preparation of legal documentation, and at court)
• Saving expense; (No costly neurosurgeons reports for your injured client if they have simply suffered a soft tissue injury to the neck).
• Dealing with the case in ways that are proportionate (i) to the amount of money involved, (ii) to the importance of the case, (iii) to the complexity of the issues and (iv) to the financial position of each party; (There are times when a Multi-Track trial with many medico-legal reports are required, detailing the nature of the claimant’s personal injury, or indeed, a forensic accountant’s report, in the event that the injured claimant has extensive lost earnings, perhaps).
• Ensuring that it is dealt with expeditiously and fairly; (As anyone using the courts would imagine)
• Enforcing compliance with rules, practice directions and orders.
So, why are we concentrating on Part 36?
Well, the recent case of Hochtief (UK) Construction Ltd & Anor v Atkins Ltd, has, once again, illuminated the reasons why making sensible settlement offers, subject to Part 36, with cost consequences for the other party, should they choose not to accept the same, are a very good idea.
In the case of Hochtief Construction, the Claimant’s made an offer to settle, of £875,000.00, on a matter that eventually settled at court, some 24 months later, for a minor increase of £4,848.00 (the final settlement being £879,848.00). And the result of their non-acceptance of the earlier offer (and therefore, failing to save expense, subject to Part 1.2, above), and the Claimant’s offer being bettered at Trial? Well, the Defendant had to pay an additional £65,000.00 in legal costs. The thing about Part 36 offers is that, even if the offer made, is bettered by a marginal amount, then cost consequences, on a punitive basis, will be applied by the court- and there can, in all honesty, not be much by way of a counter-argument to the same.
MG Legal’s team of personal injury solicitors in Garstang, have been fortunate to be on the receiving end of many orders of the court, similar to that of Hochtief. The mantra with our personal injury solicitors, be it a road traffic accident claim, medical negligence claim, or accident at work, is simple- always try to settle on the best possible terms for your injured client. And we have, on many thousands of occasions.
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