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The court cannot extend time to pay agreed settlements

30 Aug 2016

Titmus v General Motors concerns claim against a former employer that had exposed a worker to asbestos.  The defendant made an offer to settle which, if accepted, required payment to be made within 14 days which was accepted by the claimant.

The court held that it has no discretion to extend a time limit for payment of a sum as required by an offer to settle. Part 36 of the Civil Procedure Rules (which deals with offers) is a self-contained code intended to encourage parties to settle disputes out of court, by providing clear rules about offers and their consequences. The certainty these rules provide to both parties would be undermined if the court was able to extend the time limit for payments to be made.  The court required the defendant to make payment within seven days.

This judgment is helpful for parties with a genuine desire to settle – it ensures that once an offer to settle has been agreed, the paying party must make the agreed settlement payment within fourteen days without exception.

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