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.