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Act of Sederunt (Rules of the Court of Session 1994 and Ordinary Cause Rules 1993 Amendment) (Pursuers’ Offers) 2017

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Amendment of the Ordinary Cause Rules 1993

3.—(1) The Ordinary Cause Rules 1993(1) are amended in accordance with this paragraph.

(2) After Chapter 27 (caution and security), insert—

CHAPTER 27APURSUERS’ OFFERS

Interpretation of this Chapter

27A.1.  In this Chapter—

“appropriate date” means the date by which a pursuer’s offer could reasonably have been accepted;

“fees” means fees of solicitors, and includes any additional fee;

“pursuer’s offer” means an offer by a pursuer to settle a claim against a defender made in accordance with this Chapter;

“relevant period” means the period from the appropriate date to the date of acceptance of the pursuer’s offer or, as the case may be, to the date on which judgment was given, or on which the verdict was applied.

Pursuers’ offers

27A.2.(1) A pursuer’s offer may be made in any cause where the initial writ includes a crave for an order for payment of a sum or sums of money, other than an order—

(a)which the sheriff may not make without evidence; or

(b)the making of which is dependent on the making of another order which the sheriff may not make without evidence.

(2) This Chapter has no effect as regards any other form of offer to settle.

Making of offer

27A.3.(1) A pursuer’s offer is made by lodging in process an offer in the terms specified in rule 27A.4.

(2) A pursuer’s offer may be made at any time before—

(a)the sheriff makes avizandum or, if the sheriff does not make avizandum, gives judgment; or

(b)in a jury trial, the jury retires to consider the verdict.

(3) A pursuer’s offer may be withdrawn at any time before it is accepted by lodging in process a minute of withdrawal.

Form of offer

27A.4.  A pursuer’s offer must—

(a)state that it is made under this Chapter;

(b)offer to accept—

(i)a sum or sums of money, inclusive of interest to the date of the offer; and

(ii)the taxed expenses of process; and

(c)specify the crave or craves of the initial writ in satisfaction of which the sum or sums and expenses referred to in paragraph (b) would be accepted.

Disclosure of offers

27A.5.(1) No averment of the fact that a pursuer’s offer has been made may be included in any pleadings.

(2) Where a pursuer’s offer has not been accepted—

(a)the sheriff must not be informed that an offer has been made until—

(i)the sheriff has pronounced judgment; or

(ii)in the case of a jury trial, the jury has returned its verdict; and

(b)a jury must not be informed that an offer has been made until it has returned its verdict.

Acceptance of offers

27A.6.(1) A pursuer’s offer may be accepted any time before—

(a)the offer is withdrawn;

(b)the sheriff makes avizandum or, if the sheriff does not make avizandum, gives judgment; or

(c)in the case of a jury trial, the jury retires to consider its verdict.

(2) A pursuer’s offer is accepted by lodging in process an acceptance of the offer in the form of a minute of acceptance.

(3) A minute of acceptance must be unqualified other than as respects any question of contribution, indemnity or relief.

(4) On acceptance of a pursuer’s offer either the pursuer or the defender may apply by motion for decree in terms of the offer and minute of acceptance.

(5) Where a pursuer’s offer includes an offer to accept a sum of money in satisfaction of a crave for decree jointly and severally against two or more defenders, the offer is accepted only when accepted by all such defenders.

(6) However, the sheriff may, on the motion of the pursuer, and with the consent of any defender who has lodged a minute of acceptance, grant decree in terms of the offer and minute of acceptance.

Late acceptance of offers

27A.7.(1) This rule applies to the determination of a motion under rule 27A.6(4) where the sheriff is satisfied that a defender lodged a minute of acceptance after the appropriate date.

(2) On the pursuer’s motion the sheriff must, except on cause shown—

(a)allow interest on any sum decerned for from the date on which the pursuer’s offer was made; and

(b)find the defender liable for payment to the pursuer of a sum calculated in accordance with rule 27A.9.

(3) Where the sheriff is satisfied that more than one defender lodged a minute of acceptance after the appropriate date the sheriff may find those defenders liable to contribute to payment of the sum referred to in paragraph (2)(b) in such proportions as the sheriff thinks fit.

(4) Where the sheriff makes a finding under paragraph (2)(b), the pursuer may apply for decerniture for payment of the sum as so calculated no later than the granting of decree for expenses as taxed.

Non-acceptance of offers

27A.8.(1) This rule applies where—

(a)a pursuer’s offer has been made, and has not been withdrawn;

(b)the offer has not been accepted;

(c)either—

(i)the sheriff has pronounced judgment; or

(ii)in the case of a jury trial, the verdict of the jury has been applied;

(d)the judgment or verdict, in so far as relating to the craves specified in the pursuer’s offer, is at least as favourable in money terms to the pursuer as the terms offered; and

(e)the sheriff is satisfied that the pursuer’s offer was a genuine attempt to settle the proceedings.

(2) For the purpose of determining if the condition specified in paragraph (1)(d) is satisfied, interest awarded in respect of the period after the lodging of the pursuer’s offer is to be disregarded.

(3) On the pursuer’s motion the sheriff must, except on cause shown, decern against the defender for payment to the pursuer of a sum calculated in accordance with rule 27A.9.

(4) Such a motion must be lodged no later than the granting of decree for expenses as taxed.

(5) Where more than one defender is found liable to the pursuer in respect of a crave specified in the offer, the sheriff may find those defenders liable to contribute to payment of the sum referred to in paragraph (3) in such proportions as the sheriff thinks fit.

Extent of defender’s liability

27A.9.  The sum that may be decerned for under rule 27A.7(2)(b) or rule 27A.8(3) is a sum corresponding to half the fees allowed on taxation of the pursuer’s account of expenses, in so far as those fees are attributable to the relevant period, or in so far they can reasonably be attributed to that period..

(1)

The Ordinary Cause Rules 1993 are in schedule 1 of the Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Act 1907 (c.51). Schedule 1 was substituted by S.I. 1993/1956 and last amended by S.S.I. 2016/415.

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