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Key Point

Protocol offers remain open for acceptance until withdrawn, even after Part 7 proceedings have been issued, but not all offers made in the portal are Protocol offers

Castle v Andrews & Dickens Ltd

DJ Doyle, Birkenhead CC, 21st Nov 2019


This claim had started in the MOJ RTA Portal butPart 7 proceedings were issued. Later the Defendant sought to accept the Claimant's Portal offer, but the Claimant argued that their offer was no longer available for acceptance, distinguishing Purcell v McGarry and Akinroyde v EUI.


The court found that there was some conflation in previous cases between a Stage 2 portal offer and a Protocol offer, noting that a Protocol offer was a formal term with various cost consequences.   Per CPR 36.25 defines a Protocol offer as one set out in the Court Proceedings Pack (Part B) form, and CPR 36.20(8) also converts a defendant's Stage 2 offer to a Protocol offer if a claim leaves the portal before Stage 3 is commenced.  Protocol offers were open for acceptance after claims left the portal, whilst Stage 2 offers were not.  Otherwise in a case where a claimant wanted to bring in vehicle related damages at the end of Stage 2 per 7.52 of the portal protocol, a defendant could fail to make an offer in Stage 2 causing the claim to leave the portal before the claimant could seek their vehicle related damages in the portal, and then accept the claimant's first Portal offer and not have to pay anything for vehicle related damages at all.  The court held this could not be what was intended.

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