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Read v Edmed, High Court, 8 December 2004

14 December 2004
The issues

Costs – Part 36 Offer – Offer Matched By Award – Whether Indemnity Costs Appropriate

The facts

The Claimant was injured in a road traffic accident in November 2000 when she was knocked off a bicycle by a car driven by the Defendant. The matter was ordered to be tried on the issue of liability and any related issue of causation as a preliminary issue. Before proceedings the Claimant’s solicitors had offered to settle the case on a 50/50 basis by means of a Part 36 Offer.

The Defendant’s insurers had rejected that offer. When the matter was heard before the Trial Judge preliminary issues were decided on precisely that 50/50 basis. The issue arose as to whether the Claimant should be entitled to indemnity costs from 21 days after the date of the original offer.

The decision

As a matter of principle, where in a relatively uncomplicated claim for damages for personal injuries a valid Part 36 Offer or some other admissible offer had been made to settle a liability issue and the Court gave Judgment in the terms of the offer, the Claimant should be entitled to the benefit of an award of indemnity costs. The only exception to that principle would be if there was some particular circumstance such as a change in the nature of the case or unreasonable conduct on behalf of the Claimant.

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