The purpose of CPR Part 36 is to encourage settlement between parties before trial. Its primary effect is to impose cost sanctions on a party who declines an offer to settle a dispute pursuant to Part 36 and subsequently then fails to achieve a better result at trial.
The new rules will be in force on Part 36 offers made on or after 6 April 2015, albeit the rules relating to Part 36 offers in split trials will apply where the split trial begins on or after that date, even if the offer was made before it.
CPR Part 36 can be located here, however the key changes are included below:
- Improved offers: new CPR 36.9(5)(a) sets out that where an offeror has amended the terms of a Part 36 offer to make it more advantageous to the offeree, it shall be treated as a new offer (rather than a withdrawal of the original offer).
- Time-limited offers: new CPR 36.9(4)(b) allows a Part 36 offer to be automatically withdrawn in accordance with its terms after expiry of the relevant period.
- Split trials: new CPR 36.16 permits the trial judge to be informed of the existence of any Part 36 offer relating only to the concluded issues but not the terms, after judgment has been given on the preliminary issues.
- Counterclaims: new CPR 36.2(3) confirms that a Part 36 offer may be made in respect of a counterclaim or other additional claim.
- Appeals: new CPR 36.4 deals with the application of Part 36 appeal proceedings.