Whether court could remedy error regarding withdrawal of a Part 36 offer

The underlying claim here was a personal injury claim arising out of road traffic accident. Following the recent reduction in the discount rate, the claimant sought to withdraw its earlier Part 36 offer. The withdrawal was made by email but it was later accepted by the claimant that it had not served its notice of withdrawal in accordance with CPR r6.20 (service of documents other than the claim form) because the receiving party had not indicated in writing that it was willing to accept service by email. After the defendant accepted the Part 36 offer, the claimant applied to court under CPR r3.10 for an order that the service of the notice of withdrawal should be treated as valid.

The defendant argued that, since part 36 is a self-contained code, CPR r3.10 can't be used in the context of Part 36. That argument was rejected by Master Yoxall, who held that although Part 36 is a self-contained code, "it is not completely freestanding" (and, indeed, the defendant has relied on another rule, CPR r6.20, to submit that service was irregular). The Master held that CPR r3.10 has a wide effect and could be invoked here, where the withdrawal notice was actually received and gave the defendant all the necessary information.