Changes to part 36 CPR coming into force 6 April 2021

Part 36 offers (referring to the rule number in the Court Procedural Rules (CPR)) is a device incorporated into the Court rules to facilitate the settlement of claims without going to trial. Such offers can be made by Claimants or Defendants.

In general terms if a party fails to beat a part 36 offer that has been made when it comes to trial , then it risks liability for more in interest and costs on a judgment than if no offer had been put forward.

After the  6 April this year  a new updated Part 36 rule comes into force but largely the rule remains intact.

The areas of main change include:-

  1. Appeals Rule (36.4) has been introduced to deal with appeals. Part 36 offers can now be made in appeals and these offers will only apply to the appeal.
  2. Improved offers, Rule 39(5) states that if an improved offer is made this will be treated as an entirely new offer rather than a withdrawal of the old one.
  3. Rule 36.17(5)(e) deals with the situation where high Claimant offers are made , typically just slightly lower than the actual claim figure, and says the Court can now take into consideration whether the offer was a genuine attempt to settle the case.
  4. Where a party failed to file a costs budget in time previously they could be penalised by the Court to just receiving court fees in respect of their legal costs. This could be a drastic penalty particularly on a large case involving thousands in legal costs. Under rule 36.23 a party can now obtain half its assessed costs.