Court Confirms Part 36 Offers Reject Earlier Common Law Offers (but watch this space for the appeal) - Sarah Holland, Loney Stewart Holland LLP
20/01/17. In DB UK Bank Limited (t/a DB Mortgages) -v- Jacobs Solicitors  EWHC 1614 (Ch) the High Court ruled that making a Part 36 offer has the effect of rejecting an earlier common law offer, meaning it is no longer capable of acceptance.
The Claimant, DB Mortgages, brought a professional negligence claim against the Defendant, Jacobs Solicitors. During the proceedings, the Defendant made a common law, without prejudice offer to pay a sum for damages plus reasonable legal costs, which it reiterated on two further occasions. The Claimant didn’t accept it and instead, around a month before trial, made a Part 36 offer. The Defendant didn’t accept that. Then, around a week before trial, perhaps with a case of cold feet, the Claimant made an about turn and sought to accept the Defendant’s original WP offer after all. Unfortunately for the Claimant, the Defendant was no longer prepared to settle on that basis and contended that the “acceptance” was ineffective because the Claimant’s Part 36 offer had rejected the original offer. The Claimant contended that the WP offer remained capable of acceptance, principally because the Part 36 regime should have no impact upon common law principles. The Court was asked to determine whether there had been a settlement...