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Solomon v Cromwell Group PLC; Oliver v Doughty [2011] EWCA Civ 1584

Key areas: RTA; Part 45; Court of Appeal

These cases concerned the relationship between CPR Parts 36 and 44 in relation to road-traffic accidents.

Both Appellants’ cases settled pre-issue for less than £10,000.00 via a Part 36 offer, and so the Respondents claimed that only fixed costs should be allowed under CPR 45, section II.

In Solomon, at first instance it was held that the acceptance of a Part 36 offer meant that CPR 44.12(1)(b) applied, but that it would be open to only allow CPR 45, section II costs.  On a first appeal, it was held that only CPR 45, section II costs applied because “proceedings” had not been issued, and so CPR 36.10 did not apply.

In Oliver, it was held at first instance that only CPR 45, section II costs applied because it ensured that only reasonable and proportionate costs applied.

The Appellants submitted that the general right to costs under CPR 36 cannot be overridden by CPR 45, section II.  In Oliver it was also submitted that the parties had agreed to deal with costs on the Standard Basis.

The Court held that CPR 36 contains general rules, while CPR 45 deals with specific situations, such as RTAs, which leads to the exclusion of any alternative Rules.

As a result, only the costs under CPR 45, section II would be generally allowed.

The Court then looked at the actual agreements between the parties: Solomon was settled by reference to CPR 36; Oliver was settled by an offer which “is intended to have the consequences of Part 36… in accordance with CPR 36.10”.

The Claimant in Oliver submitted that this meant there was a contractual agreement to pay Standard Basis costs, but the Court held that the reference to CPR 36 shows otherwise.

Overall, both appeals were dismissed and so only CPR 45, section II costs were awarded.

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