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Brennan v Eco Composting Ltd & Another

20 December 2006
The issues

Interest – patient – for what period should a Claimant, who is a patient, be entitled to receive interest which had accrued on a payment made into Court, accepted before subsequently receiving approval by the Court.

The facts

The Claimant was injured in an accident and as a consequence became a patient. The claim was issued and on the 19th September 2005 the Defendants made a Part 36 payment. The period for acceptance expired on 10th October 2005. On the 29th March 2006 the Claimant’s solicitors indicated that the Claimant wished to accept the monies in Court. Approval however would be necessary as the Claimant was a patient. On 3rd October 2006 the matter came before the Judge on an Application by the Claimant for the Court’s approval and a cross-Application by the Defendant to take the money out of Court because of what was contended was a change in the Claimant’s life expectancy. That initially Hearing was vacated and subsequently the Defendants indicated that they would not pursue their Application to withdraw. On the 10th November 2006 the settlement was approved. A dispute arose as to the period as to which each party should receive interest on the monies paid into Court up until 3rd October 2006 which was when the matter came before the Court for the first time and when the payment would have been approved if the Defendant had not made their Application subsequently withdrawn.

The decision

There was nothing unjust about a situation in which the Claimant could only receive the interest on money paid into Court after the Court’s approval was obtained. That was a factor that the Claimant could take into account in deciding whether to accept a payment in. The Claimant’s solicitors should be able to ensure that a Judge was available to approve an acceptance speedily after the decision had been taken to accept the payment.

Moreover, a Claimant was not bound by any intimation of acceptance until the Court approved the acceptance. This was the effect of the decision of the House of Lords in Deitz v Lennig Chemicals Ltd.

Moreover, CPR 21.10 stated clearly that “no acceptance of money paid into Court shall be valid, so far as it relates to the claim by, on behalf of or against the child or patient without the approval of the Court”.

Therefore, in accordance with Part 36 Practice Direction 7.10 the Defendants were entitled to interest from the payment into Court until the Court approved acceptance of the payment in. That date was the 3rd October 2006, beyond which the Claimant was entitled to interest.

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The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

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