Multiplex Constructions (UK) Ltd v Cleveland Bridge UK Ltd & Anor [2008] EHWC 2280 (TCC)

HHJ Jackson held that the Court of Appeal’s approach in Carver v BAA Plc [2008] EWCA Civ 412 should not be confined to personal injury cases but was of general application in circumstances in which: (a) one party has made an offer that was nearly, but not quite, sufficient; and (b) the other party has rejected that offer outright, without any attempt to negotiate. To read the judgment click here.  

Multiplex v Cleveland Bridge (Costs): Mr Justice Jackson ordered Cleveland Bridge to pay 20% of the costs Multiplex had accrued since the summer of 2006. HHJ Jackson sets out the eight principles to be derived from the authorities and, applying those principles, concludes that the conduct of both parties was open to criticism, but that the greater share of blame rested with CB. Having conceded on 6 June 2006 that some overall payment was due to Multiplex, CB never followed up that concession by making an offer. At no point between 6 June 2006 and the day of judgment did CB ever offer to make any payment in settlement of the entire proceedings. That failure was ‘the overriding reason why this litigation has not settled. There is a heavier onus on the debtor to make a defendant’s offer than there is on the creditor to make a claimant’s offer.

The Wembley Stadium legal row has blown an £18.3M hole in Cleveland Bridge’s accounts – the company has had to write down the value of the contract by £11M and has taken a hit for £7.3M in legal costs.