The aim of a Part 36 offer to Settle is to encourage both parties, in a Personal Injury Claim, to resolve their dispute. Making a Part 36 Offer should not be regarded as a sign of weakness, but as an attempt to gently pressure the Defendant to settle a claim within a reasonable timescale.
A Part 36 Offer must include the cost consequences the Defendant will incur if they refuse a reasonable offer to settle. Furthermore, under the Civil Procedure Rules (1998) a Part 36 Offer must adhere to the following:
- Be a genuine offer to settle;
- Be made “without prejudice as to costs”;
- Be inclusive of all interest, in a ‘money’ claim;
- Comply with the strict requirements of the rules of court.
It is possible for either a Claimant or Defendant to make a Part 36 Offer to Settle, at any stage during a Personal Injury Claim, before or after proceedings have commenced and during appeal proceedings. A Part 36 offer to settle is often made by a Claimant’s Solicitor and must always be made in writing.
A Claimant’s Part 36 Offer should:
- Allow no less than 21 days within which the Defendant would then be liable for the Claimants costs, should the offer be accepted.
- State that it is intended to have the consequences of a Part 36 under the Civil Procedure Rules (1998.)
- Specify whether the offer relates to the whole claim, a single element of a claim, or an arising issue, which should be defined.
- Clarify whether the offer takes into consideration any counterclaim.
- Contain sufficient information to allow the Defendant to consider the offer.
In ‘money’ claims in which a Defendant has made a Part 36 offer to pay out the Claimant’s damages, the Defendant must state that the offer is to pay a single sum of money and stipulate that this amount will be paid no later than 14 days following acceptance.
Lastly, acceptance of a Part 36 Offer must be confirmed in writing but can be done without the Court’s permission, providing a trial has not already commenced. If the Defendant fails to pay the Part 36 Offer within 14 days of acceptance, the Claimant’s Solicitor is able to enter judgment against them for the unpaid sum, unless a new date for payment has been previously negotiated.