The Pursuer’s Offer – Equality of Arms
by Ken Caldwell
Last week, Pursuers in a Court action were issued with a new weapon from the Civil Court armoury.
For countless years it has been open to a Defender to lodge a judicial tender, being an official offer to settle a monetary claim for a specified sum together with expenses. The tender is intimated on the Pursuer and lodged in the court process where it is held in a sealed envelope. If the Pursuer rejects the tender but fails to obtain an award in excess of the sum on offer then the Defender is entitled to recover expenses from around the date of the tender until the conclusion of the court action. This can be a powerful tactic and historically it has been frequently used in personal injury claims and other payment actions.
From 3rd April 2017 the Pursuer in an action for payment in the Court of Session or in the Sheriff Court in an Ordinary action can now make a “Pursuer’s offer”. Like a tender it is an official offer to accept a reduced sum in settlement. If the offer is rejected and the Pursuer receives an award no less favourable than the sum specified in their offer then they become entitled to an uplift of 50% on the recoverable expenses from the date that the offer was made. In a Sheriff Court Ordinary Action expenses can easily exceed £5,000 and, therefore, a prompt and well judged offer in a claim of modest value may help focus minds on a commercial settlement.
If you would like to discuss any issues relating to this topic please contact Ken Caldwell on firstname.lastname@example.org.