A recent comment on a LinkedIn discussion forum raised the issue of whether the proposed changes to the Part 36 rules and the formal reversal of Carver v BAA were sensible.
The proposed changes will make clear that where a money offer is beaten at trial, by however small a margin, the costs sanctions applicable under CPR 36 will apply.
It will be remembered that this was one of Lord Justice Jackson’s main proposals.
But wait a moment. LJ Jackson also believes that recoverable costs should be limited to what is proportionate to the amounts at stake. Surely this should apply equally when there is an offer on the table. In the case of Carver, even if we accept that a claimant who beats a defendant’s offer by £51 has achieved a more advantageous outcome, surely the question should still be asked as to whether the further costs incurred to recover the extra £51 are proportionate.
What additional costs would be proportionate to throw at a case to get an extra £51?