Following the consultation during the course of last year, new rules come into force on 1 April 2007 (Civil Procedure (Amendment No 3) Rules 2006.). The new CPR 36 removes the requirement for defendants to make payments into court. Defendants wishing to offer to settle a claim by payment of a sum of money will now simply make a written offer to settle. An accepted offer must be paid within14 days, or the claimant will be able to enter judgment and the defendant will lose the costs protection afforded by the rules. The new rule also removes the requirement to obtain the court’s permission to accept or withdraw an offer once the relevant time limit has expired.
Comment: the consultation showed wide support for the proposal to remove the requirement for defendants deemed to be “good for the money” to make payments into court. The explanatory note to the new rules says that the CPR Committee conducted a follow-up consultation over the summer proposing to abolish payments into court altogether, to which a “slight majority of respondents agreed”. The note also draws attention to the obvious costs saving for the Court Funds Office. This surprising turn of events will be welcomed by defendants but deplored by claimant groups such as APIL who vigorously opposed the more limited proposal concerning defendants who were “good for the money”. They drew attention at that stage to claimant concerns about potential bankruptcy, given the fact that both Independent Insurance and Chester Street Insurance were insurers who were apparently “good for the money” but became insolvent.