Late acceptance of Calderbank offer

MEF v St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust [2020] EWHC 1300 (QB)

The High Court has held that a Calderbank offer relating to costs could be accepted by the claimant part way through the detailed assessment hearing. The decision starkly illustrates the difference between a Calderbank offer and an offer pursuant to Part 36 of the Civil Procedure Rules.

It was held at first instance, that unlike a Part 36 offer, the Defendant’s Calderbank offer was capable of acceptance without the permission of the Court, despite the hearing having started.  The Defendant appealed.  However, the High Court upheld the first instance decision, finding that it had been open to the Defendant to withdraw the offer at any time, or place a time limit on acceptance of the offer.

For those interested, a summary of the case can be found in the Library. However, at a time when defendant solicitors might be delaying the progress of claims they might not be as diligent on withdrawing offers as they might otherwise be, and so it is worth mentioning that it is open for a claimant to accept a Calderbank offer at any time unless the offer was either time-limited or the Defendant has withdrawn it.

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