Hugh Grant vs the Sun – how a Part 36 offer ultimately decided the outcome

Hugh Grant vs the Sun – how a Part 36 offer ultimately decided the outcome image

Part 36 of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) outlines a formal mechanism for making settlement offers in civil litigation. Under this provision, a party can make a settlement offer to their opponent, specifying a period within which the offer can be accepted. If the offer is accepted within this timeframe, the parties can avoid the time, cost, and uncertainty associated with trial proceedings.

However, if the offer is rejected and the case proceeds to trial, the dynamics change. Should the final outcome of the trial be less advantageous to the rejecting party than the terms of the Part 36 offer, they may face adverse cost consequences. Specifically, the rejecting party may be liable to pay the opposing party’s legal costs from the date the offer expired.

In Grant’s case, NGN’s Part 36 offer prompted him to reassess his litigation strategy.  Despite his initial intentions to pursue the matter in court, Grant was compelled to seriously consider and thereafter accept the Part 36 offer as ultimately there was a substantial risk that he might recover less at trial than the Defendant had offered in the Part 36 offer and that being the case, he might have been liable to pay costs to NGN.

Grant’s predicament reflects the delicate balance of risks and rewards inherent in evaluating Part 36 offers. The decision to accept or reject such offers requires careful consideration of various factors, including the strength of the case, potential trial outcomes, and financial implications.

Overall, the Hugh Grant case serves as a pertinent illustration of the pivotal role played by Part 36 offers in shaping the trajectory of civil litigation. As legal practitioners and parties to litigation navigate the complexities of dispute resolution, a nuanced understanding of Part 36 and its implications remains essential for informed decision-making and effective advocacy.


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