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Court accepts that doctrine of mistake applies to Part 36 offers

17th January 2022

Every litigator dreads making an erroneous settlement offer. Worse still, if the offer is accepted. Richard Wilkinson was instructed on behalf of a Claimant in respect of whom a Part 36 offer to settle liability had mistakenly been made on a 20/80, rather than an 80/20 basis as had been intended. The Defendant argued that the agreement was binding because P36 is a self-contained code to which ordinary common law doctrines do not apply.

Reliance was placed by the Defendant on cases in the Low Value PI Portal to similar effect. In a reserved judgment Master Thornett rejected those arguments, accepting that a more nuanced approach was necessary in the context of Part 36 offers more generally. Such offers had to be construed in accordance with the Overriding Objective and, whilst self-contained, P36 was not hermetically sealed. The Claimant was accordingly not bound by the terms of her Part 36 offer: O’Grady v B15 Group Limited.

A full copy of the judgment can be found at the link below.

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Richard Wilkinson

Richard Wilkinson
Year of Call: 1992