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Key Points

Agreements on individual heads of loss are binding at Stage 2


(Obiter) Portal settlements on complete claims are binding to the World

Maddocks v Lyne

HHJ Wood QC, Chester CC, 22nd January 2016

Parties agreed some individual heads of loss during Stage 2, but at the Stage 3 hearing the Claimant re-opened them, which the judge allowed. The Defendant appealed, arguing that agreements reached in the Portal on individual heads of were binding.


The Defendant argued how the a Stage 3 hearing was defined as a hearing to determine items which remained in dispute. The Claimant argued that the wording of the rules only referred to 'offer' in the singular.

The Defendant relied on Bewicke-Copley v Ibeh which said they are, and the Claimant relied on Bushell v Parry which said they were not. Permission to appeal, in some delicious irony, was given to the Defendants by HHJ Gregory, who had decided the Bushell case.


In a long and reserved judgment, HHJ Wood QC held that where a claim remained in the Portal, as here, those items agreed at Stage 2 would be binding on both parties except in very exceptional cases.


The judge went on to find, obiter, that if the matter left the Portal, then individual heads of loss were not binding, although the judgment notes that no argument was heard on this point.


The court also went on to find, again obiter, that if all heads of loss were agreed in the Portal then it was binding on the world.



Whilst confirming the original position as found in Bewicke-Copley v Ibeh, this decision also resolved the dispute between the inconsistent decisions of Ullah v Jon and Malak v Nasim, on whether admissions in the Portal are binding outside of that Portal claim where there is no judgment, by confirming that where settlement is reached on all heads of loss that the agreement is binding on the world, it does not require a judgment to be binding. That point was then confirmed, ratio, 10 months later in the appeal decision of Chimel v Chibwana & Williams.

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