Get in Touch Menu

New rule on ‘offers to settle’

22 September 2011

The Civil Procedure Rules have been clarified in respect of the amount of damages a claimant must be awarded to gain a ‘more advantageous’ outcome than a previous settlement offer.  The new rule, which came into force in October, is good news for litigants.

Civil Procedure Rule 36.14 adopted a practical approach. Where a settlement was proposed and rejected, if the claimant subsequently won damages higher than that offer, he was right to have refused it. He should not, therefore, be liable for legal costs run up after the point he rejected the offer.

This approach, however, was thrown into disarray by the 2008 ruling in Carver v BAA plc.  In this case, the court awarded costs against the claimant, Miss Carver, even though her damages award was higher than BAA’s offer to settle. The court considered that the amount by which she had beaten the offer was too small.

The position is now crystal clear. When deciding who has to pay for legal costs after an offer to settle is rejected, the key question will be ‘did the claimant obtain more damages than were initially offered to settle the claim?’. This means more damages in money terms by any amount, however small – no fudge, no grey area, no argument: just look at the figures.

If you need clear and pragmatic legal advice, we’re here to help so please get in touch.

Contact us

Disclaimer: All legal information is correct at the time of publication but please be aware that laws may change over time. This article contains general legal information but should not be relied upon as legal advice. Please seek professional legal advice about your specific situation - contact us; we’d be delighted to help.
Nick Cox LLB (Hons)
Consultant, solicitor
View profile
Nick Cox
Related services
Share this article
Resources to help

Related articles

Property disputes: They didn’t tell me the neighbours were a nuisance when I purchased the property!


When purchasing a property, the seller must complete a sellers property information form (SPIF). These include simple questions asking whether there has ever been – or if there are currently…

Bethen Abraham LLB (Hons), LLM

Don’t get burnt with service charge disputes


It is a common term in a lease that a certified service charge sum demanded by the landlord is ‘conclusive’. But what should you do if the service charge is…

Nick Southwell BA (Hons)

Landlords: Are you fire safety ready?


The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 came into effect on 23 January this year. These regulations will materially impact landlords, managers and operators of buildings in England that contain two…

James Melvin-Bath LLB (Hons)
Senior associate, solicitor-advocate
Contact us