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Sandra Solomon v Cromwell Group Plc: Donna Oliver v Sandra Doughty [2011] EWCA Civ 1584, 19/12/11


Low value RTA claim settled under the terms of a Part 36 offer, the costs were to be assessed under CPR 45 Part II rather than on the standard basis.

The appellants, who had been claimants in low-value road traffic accident claims, appealed against decisions to award costs in accordance with Part 45 Part II rather than on the standard basis. In both cases, the Claimants had accepted Part 36 offers of sums totalling less than £10,000 made by the Defendants before the claims had been issued. The Court held that it could not have been intended that a Claimant in a low-value road accident claim who accepted a Part 36 offer before proceedings had been commenced should be entitled to recover costs assessed on the standard basis, whereas a Claimant accepting an offer not made under Part 36 should be limited to the costs under Part 45 Part II. Furthermore it was not clear why a claimant proceeding under r.44.12A should be subject to a more restrictive costs regime than one who started Part 7 proceedings. If the Claimants' argument were correct, the acceptance of a Part 36 offer would always result in an order for costs on the standard basis in low-value road traf fic accident cases which would undermine the fixed costs regime and provide a powerful incentive for defendants not to make Part 36 offers in such cases. The appeals were therefore dismissed.