“I accept that a failure to comply with the rules of service in CPR Part 6 should not be taken lightly … No reason has been put forward by the claimant as to why the rules were not followed. On the other hand, it is clear that the defendants’ solicitors received the Part 36 offer on 15 December 2020. Mr Seitler does not contend otherwise. No complaint was made about the method of service of the Part 36 offer until shortly before the hearing on 3 November. No suggestion has been made that there is any prejudice to the third defendant in the Part 36 offer having been sent by email rather than having been served in some other way, for example by post. In these circumstances, it would in my view be … “a triumph of form over substance” if the court were to make an order invalidating the Part 36 offer…”
This Court of Appeal decision concerned the circumstances in which the award to a Claimant who beats its own Part 36 Offer of some or all of the specified relief under CPR 36.17 may be considered to be unjust.
There have been a number of cases recently dealing with the consequences under CPR 36.17(4) of a claimant beating its own offer. In this case the claimant beat its offer of £250,000 by over £200,000, being awarded approximately £458,500 at trial. The defendant argued that notwithstanding this fact, it would be unjust to visit the consequences set out in CPR 36.17 upon them.
Mr Justice O’Farrell rounded up the authorities on CPR 36.17 and found that a Claimant who had beaten its own Part 36 Offer of £875,000 by less than £5,000 was nonetheless entitled to the benefits conferred by the rule, including enhanced interest on damages and costs, indemnity costs from 21 days after the date of the offer and an additional amount of £65,123.77.
This was an appeal against the decision of Master McCloud not to award the claimant a 10% ‘additional amount’ under CPR 36.17(4) on grounds that it would be disproportionate and unjust to do so where the claimant had beaten its own offer by just £7,000 on a bill assessed at £431,813.05.
This was a decision of Deputy Master Friston (author of Friston on Costs) in the Senior Courts Costs Office. Having determined that the Claimant had made and beaten a valid Part 36 Offer solely in relation to hourly rates the Master concluded that it would be unjust to award them an additional 10% uplift on the assessed profit costs.