A Part 36 Offer, is an Offer made in an attempt to reach a speedy settlement which omits the need to attend trial. The Offer can be made by either the Claimant or the Defendant throughout the duration of the claim and can either be made in respect of liability, quantum, or both.
When a Part 36 Offer is made, the receiving party has 21 days to accept the same. If the aforesaid offer is not accepted within 21 days, the party making the offer has the right to withdraw their Part 36 and the matter will proceed as though the offer never existed.
The purpose of a Part 36 Offer is to put pressure on the other side to reach settlement. Failure to respond to a Part 36 Offer, or indeed rejecting a Part 36 Offer can lead to costs consequences. By way of example, if a Claimant advanced a Part 36 Offer that was rejected by a Defendant and the Defendant later failed to beat their own offer at trial, the Defendant will be responsible for the Claimant's costs from the date they could have accepted the Claimant's offer. On the contrary, if the Defendant were to beat the Claimant's offer, the Claimant would be responsible for all of the Defendant's legal costs.
It is vital that Part 36 Offers are considered carefully, whether they are being made or accepted. It is common for a Defendant to pitch their offer high enough for a Claimant to become increasingly worried about the consequences should they not accept the offer therefore it is paramount that the monetary figure is assessed in line with the award that the Claimant could realistically receive.