Personal injury claims

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Part 1:

  1. BACKGROUND FACTS:
  1. In July 2008, Janice Long [JL] instigated personal injury [PI] proceedings against her employer, Business Solutions PLC [BSP], for a back injury which she sustained at its premises in December 2006. JL is claiming for £30,000 in compensation. JL has followed the Pre-Action Protocol for Personal Injury Claims.
  1. BSP submitted its defence in August 2008, and made JL a Part 36 settlement offer of £10,000 on 15th August 2008. JL has refused this offer and has failed to make a counter-offer. JL has indicated that she wants matters to proceed to Court, and is unprepared to engage further in pre-trial settlement negotiations.
  1. THE PROBLEM:
  1. How likely is it that the Court will make a costs order in favour of JL, if she is awarded more than £10,000?
  1. How would this position change if the amount awarded is only slightly greater than £10,000?
  1. How would this position change if the amount awarded is £10,000, i.e. the same value as the Part 36 offer made by BSP?
  1. LEGAL ISSUES:
  1. What costs protection, if any, does a Part 36 offer provide to a defendant where the final award granted by the Court exceeds the equivalent value of that settlement offer?
  1. What costs protection, if any, does a Part 36 offer provide to a defendant where the final award granted by the Court exceeds the equivalent value of that settlement offer, but only by a small amount?
  1. What costs protection, if any, does a Part 36 offer provide to a defendant where the final award granted by the Court is equivalent to the value of that settlement offer?
  1. LAW AND APPLICATION:
  1. In regard to JL being granted a costs award if the judgement significantly exceeds BSP’s Part 36 offer: Rule 36.14 CPR provides that where ‘judgment against the defendant is at least as advantageous to the claimant as the proposals contained in a claimant’s Part 36 offer’ [36.14(1)(b) CPR], then, ‘the court will, unless it considers it unjust to do so, order that the claimant is entitled to –(a) interest on the whole or part of any sum of money (excluding interest) awarded at a rate not exceeding 10% above base rate for some or all of the period starting with the date on which the relevant period expired;(b) his costs on the indemnity basis from the date on which the relevant period expired; and(c) interest on those costs at a rate not exceeding 10% above base rate.’ [36.14(3) CPR]. In light of the fact that JL was totally unwilling to renegotiate settlement,

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