Gibbon v Manchester City Council [2010] EWCA Civ 726

Posted on Friday, June 25th, 2010

This matter has clarified the use of Part 36 of the CPR which relates to the offer and acceptance of settlements under the CPR.

The Claimant brought a claim against the Defendant as a result of an accident in December 2007. The Defendant made a Part 36 offer on 10/11/08 of £1,150 but the Claimant rejected this and made a Part 36 offer of £2,500 on 18/11/08. The Claimant rejected further increased offers from the Defendant but did not withdraw the offer of £2,500. On 07/01/09, the Defendant made a Part 36 offer of £2,500 but the Claimant rejected this on 18/02/09. On 26/02/09, the Defendant accepted the Claimant’s Part 36 offer of £2,500. The Claimant withdrew the Part 36 offer of £2,500 and again rejected the Defendant’s Part 36 offer of £2,500. The Defendant therefore made an application for a declaration that they were allowed to accept the Claimant’s offer of 18/11/09.

The application was heard and it was held that since the Claimant’s offer made on 18/11/09 had not formally been withdrawn, the Defendant was entitled to accept it. The Claimant was given Judgment in the sum of £2,500 and the Defendant was ordered to pay the Claimant’s costs up to the date of the Claimant’s offer and the Claimant was to pay the Defendant’s costs after that date.

The Claimant appealed and it was held that the onus was on the offeror to withdraw an existing offer if they did not want it to be available for acceptance. The Claimant’s appeal was dismissed.

The Court of Appeal also dismissed the appeal and it was held that Part 36 is a “self-contained code” which did not include any other law unless the CPR expressly included it. A Part 36 offer can be accepted at any time, unless the offeror serves notice of withdrawal on the offeree. (Rule 36.9(2)).

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