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David Hallam Limited v Langford

12 June 2000
The issues

Validity of a Part 36 Offer failing to comply with the formalities at Rule 35.5 (6) (b)

The facts

8 months before Trial the Claimant wrote a letter expressed to be a “formal offer made under Part 36 Civil Procedure Rules” and complied in all respects save but did not state that after 21 days the Offeree could only accept the offer if the parties agreed the liabilty of costs or the costs gave permission. On the morning of the trial the Defendant gave notice of acceptance. The Claimant asserted in the absence of words required that the letter by the rule that the letter was not a valid Part 36 Offer and was not capable of acceptance.

The decision

1. The use of the word “formal” on the fact of the letter was not enough to include my inference the required words.

2. The Claimant was not estopped from denying the insertion on the face of the letter that it was a Part 36 Offer.

3. It was not open to the Defendant to waive the apparent procedural irregularity.

4. The requirement to specify the information in Part 36 Rule 36.5(6) (b) was directory not mandatory in the absence of that information was not fatal. The letter therefore was a valid Part 36 Offer which had been accepted.

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