media centre

How many times have you wished you'd had the benefit of foresight or hindsight when making business decisions? Speak to one of our experts today.

Whole Offer, Not Part, Determines Liability for Costs

In English law, the normal rule in a contested case is that the loser pays the winner's costs. Where an offer to settle a case is made, the rule is modified. If the case then goes to court, in simple terms the loser still pays if the court makes an award which 'beats the loser's offer'. If the offer is not beaten, the winner's ability to recover costs from the loser is limited.

This sounds fine in principle, but the reality is often more complex. For example, a recent dispute ended up in court because the parties could not agree whether an offer had been beaten or not.

The legal dispute related to an insurance claim in which there were a number of claims run as a single case. The defendant made an offer to settle each claim, specifying how each was calculated. At the trial, the award made was greater than the offer overall, but not in respect of one aspect of the case, which related to a business interruption claim.

The insurance company sought to reduce its liability for the winner's legal costs on the ground that part of the costs related to a head of claim which it had 'won'.

The court was having none of it. The total award was greater than the total offer and the loser had to pay.


How can we help?

Please fill in this form and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.

Please enter your name
Please enter your phone number
Please enter your email address
Please let us know how you heard about us
Please enter your enquiry
One more thing... Please enter the verification code
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.