ON APPEAL FROM MANCHESTER COUNTY COURT
His Honour Judge Platts
District Judge Wheeler & District Judge Smith
9MA20271 & 6MA23097
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
LORD JUSTICE MOORE-BICK
LORD JUSTICE AIKENS
SENIOR COSTS JUDGE HURST as Assessor
| SANDRA SOLOMON
|- and -
|CROMWELL GROUP PLC
Mr. Jeremy Morgan Q.C. for the respondent Cromwell Group PLC
(instructed by Taylor Rose Law LLP) and for the respondent Sandra Doughty (instructed by Keelys LLP)
Hearing date : 19th October 2011
Crown Copyright ©
Lord Justice Moore-Bick :
"(1) . . . where a Part 36 offer is accepted within the relevant period the claimant will be entitled to the costs of the proceedings up to the date on which notice of acceptance was served on the offeror.
. . .
(3) Costs under paragraphs (1) and (2) of this rule will be assessed on the standard basis if the amount of costs is not agreed."
"a series of negotiations which were conducted under the auspices of the Civil Justice Council. The parties to the negotiations were some liability insurers who promoted the interests of defendants, and a combination of claimants' solicitors (represented by Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and the Motor Accident Solicitors Society) and legal expenses' insurers who promoted the interests of claimants."
The court considered that the purpose of the new rules had been correctly summarised by Simon J. in Nizami v Butt  EWHC 159 (QB),  2 All ER 140 as being to provide an agreed scheme of recovery which was certain and easily calculated by providing fixed levels of remuneration which might over-reward in some cases and under-reward in others, but which were regarded as fair when taken as a whole. It follows that in any individual case the sum awarded may be larger or smaller than that which would have been awarded following a detailed assessment on the standard basis.
"A Part 36 offer—
(a) may be made at any time, including before the commencement of proceedings;"
"(1) This rule sets out a procedure which may be followed where –
(a) the parties to a dispute have reached an agreement on all issues (including which party is to pay the costs) which is made or confirmed in writing; but
(b) they have failed to agree the amount of those costs; and
(c) no proceedings have been started.",
but the court's powers are limited to making an order for costs to be determined by detailed assessment or dismissing the claim. As Section 17 of the Costs Practice Direction makes clear, if the court makes an order for assessment, that order will give the claimant his costs of the substantive claim and direct that they be assessed on the standard basis.
Terms of settlement
"Pursuant to Part 36 of the Civil Procedure Rules ("CPR"), we offer to settle the remaining aspects of your client's claim in the sum of £5,250.
This offer is to settle the whole of the remaining aspects of your client's claim for general and special damages and is intended to have the consequences of Part 36 of the CPR.
. . . We will be liable for your client's reasonable costs in accordance with CPR 36.10 . . . "
Lord Justice Aikens :
Lord Justice Pill :