Open offers in provisional assessments
One of the proposed changes to the provisional assessment pilot is:
“When lodging documents for PA the parties should file (a) any open offer and (b) in a sealed envelope any offer under Part 36”.
Now, filing sealed offers is very sensible and answers the problem I raised last year when the pilot was first launched (see Provisional Assessment Pilot – Unanswered problems).
But why open and sealed offers? What is the open offer for? If the other party has accepted the open offer there is no need for an assessment.
Can a paying party make an open offer of £10,000 on the bill which the judge can “accept” without bothering to go through the bill? Then the judge can open the sealed Part 36 offers to see who to award the assessment costs to (eg the paying party if they made a Part 36 offer of £11,000). That should cut the judicial time down to below the current 37 minutes. If not, what is the judge meant to do with the open offer?