What is a Part-36 offer?
A Part-36 offer is an offer that is hoped to help settle cases out of court and was introduced in 1999 as part of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR). The offer can be made by either the claimant or defendant in a case at any stage and must be made in writing, clearly marked with “pursuant to Part 36”.
The Part-36 offer can be in relation to the whole of a claim or just part of it, and it must specify a time limit for acceptance of the offer, but this must be at least 21 days. If a reasonable offer is declined, the costs and consequences should also be laid out in the offer, and if either party needs any points to be clarified, they must request this within 7 days of the offer being made.
A part-36 offer can be advantageous to either side in that court hearings can be avoided, additional legal fees can be minimised, and there are tactical benefits in making a formal offer to settle prior to a court hearing. The Part-36 offer encourages both parties to negotiate early in the hope of reaching a settlement as soon as possible.
A Part-36 offer can be accepted by serving a written acceptance to the offeror via their legal team. This will result with the notice being filed with the court if proceedings have commenced. The defendant is then obliged to pay the owed sum within 14 days of acceptance.
If either party rejects a Part-36 offer, the case is likely to be taken to court and this could result in a lower offer being made than that outlined in the Part-36. What is more, additional costs are likely to be incurred. Furthermore, if the defendant rejects a claimant’s offer and the case is subsequently dismissed by the court, the claimant may become liable for both parties’ legal costs.