Part 36 Offers | Civil Disputes
A Part 36 Offer is an offer which can be made by either party in civil proceedings as a tactical step designed to settle the dispute, thereby avoiding the incurrence of further costs.
Such an Offer is extremely technical in nature and requires extreme consideration and caution before offered or accepted.
Tim Thompson briefly comments upon a recently reported case to provide an insight into the operation of such an Offer.
- Judge Martin Bowdery QC recently handed down Judgment in a dispute involving landscaping works to the Claimants’ garden to their property in London
- The Claimants proceeded with the assistance of a former neighbour, who was both a friend and an architect, and who recommended a landscaping company which provided a Quotation for the work which was accepted by the Claimants
- In due course, the Claimants terminated their ‘contract’ with the landscaping company, as they were discontented with the endeavours of that company, and instructed other contractors to complete the project, which resulted in considerable extra cost to the Claimants
- The Claimants commenced detailed civil proceedings seeking damages against their friend, the architect, in respect of alleged defective work that they claimed was her legally responsibility and, inter alia, included issues involving:
- The extent of the Defendant’s involvement
- Whether any, and if so what, contract had been entered into
- Whether the Defendant owed the Claimants a duty of care and, if so, what the nature and extent of that duty
- A Trial was commenced and, importantly, three weeks in to that Trial, the Defendant submitted a Part 36 Offer which was rejected by the Claimants
- The outcome of the Trial was that the Claimants failed in their claim against the Defendant
- The Defendant applied for costs on what is known as an ‘indemnity ‘basis but the High Court ruled that costs be assessed on the ‘standard basis’
- The practical effect of this Ruling was that the Defendant was faced with recovering from the Claimants less than the full amount of the legal fees that she had incurred and she was faced with paying the balance out of her own pocket, even though she was victorious in the proceedings and had endeavoured to resolve the issue sensibly by presenting her Part 36 Offer
- The Defendant appealed to the Court of Appeal which found that she had acted ‘sensibly and proportionately’ when submitting her Part 36 Offer unlike the Claimants who were ‘unreasonable beyond any doubt’ in not accepting that Offer
- The Defendant was awarded the indemnity costs which she claimed and which recognised the powerful effect of serving a sensible and acceptable Part 36 Offer at the appropriate time
How Can We Help? | Kangs Civil Proceedings Solicitors
The Team at Kangs Solicitors conducts detailed disputes of all types in the Civil Courts throughout the country on a daily basis and is well versed in the tactical advantages attaching to Part 36 Offers.
If you require any assistance involving civil disputes of any nature please do not hesitate to speak to our team who will be happy to assist.