Time limit to open offers in assessment proceedings
A reader of the Legal Costs Blog recently asked the question whether an open offer pursuant to PD 47 paragraph 8.3 can be made with a time limit for acceptance.
The wording of the PD simply says:
“The paying party must state in an open letter accompanying the points of dispute what sum, if any, that party offers to pay in settlement of the total costs claimed. The paying party may also make an offer under Part 36.”
I therefore see no reason why such an offer cannot have a time limit for acceptance imposed on it. Obviously, if the time limit is deemed to have been unreasonably short then the offer is unlikely to offer any protection (to the extent to which open offers do provide protection).
Further, as there are no special rules governing 8.3 offers (unlike Part 36 offers) it appears that ordinary contract law applies. An offer that is rejected, whether expressly or by conduct (serving Replies?), will no longer be open for acceptance. Equally, a counter-offer will also amount to rejection and mean the original offer is no longer open for acceptance.