New Court Rules will introduce a mechanism by which a pursuer can put forward a formal offer in settlement.
The Rules will apply in the Court of Session and in sheriff court ordinary procedure in any case with a financial crave or conclusion - apart from those that cannot be granted without evidence.
Under the new Rules a defender who delays unnecessarily in accepting a pursuer’s offer, or who fails to accept an offer to settle at a sum no greater than what is ultimately awarded, incurs a financial penalty over and above the normal consequence of continued liability for expenses.
The size of the penalty depends on the extent to which the proceedings have been unnecessarily delayed due to non-acceptance or late acceptance. The penalty payable to the pursuer is calculated by reference to the taxed expenses incurred in the period following the making of the offer.
Chair of the Scottish Civil Justice Council, the Lord President, Lord Carloway, said: “Court Rules have an important role to play in promoting and encouraging early settlement of cases. Under these Rules, a defender who chooses not to accept a pursuer’s offer risks incurring a penalty if that decision proves to have been ill-judged. As with judicial tenders, the lodging of a well-pitched pursuer’s offer will therefore provide a strong inducement to settle.”
The Rules were developed by the Costs and Funding Committee, and will be introduced in both the Court of Session and sheriff court ordinary procedure on 3 April.
The applicable tables of fees have been amended to include the fees for making and considering pursuers’ offers.
Further information can be found in the explanatory notes.
Act of Sederunt (Rules of the Court of Session 1994 and Ordinary Cause Rules 1993 Amendment) (Pursuers’ Offers) 2017
Act of Sederunt (Fees of Solicitors in the Court of Session and Sheriff Court Amendment) (Pursuers’ Offers) 2017