Robert Louis Stevenson said that “Compromise is the best and cheapest lawyer”.  Nevertheless, we are often used in order to effect a compromise.  Sometimes, the attempt to settle per se becomes the source of litigation and so it was in last month’s case of DB UK Bank v Jacobs Solicitors (2016) EWHC 1614.


The main proceedings entailed the Claimant Bank bringing a claim in professional negligence against the Defendant Solicitors.  The Bank alleged that it would not have lent money had the Solicitors reported to them properly.   


A week before trial, the Bank’s solicitors sent a letter to the Solicitors’ solicitors which stated that they were accepting an offer which had been set out in an earlier WP letter from the Solicitors.  The Solicitors denied that the claim was so compromised because they contended that there was no binding agreement.


The Bank’s letter which purported to conclude the compromise referred to Part 36 but recognised that it was not governed by it given that it was made less than 21 days before trial.


The judge found that the initial ‘offer’ letter from the Solicitors was indeed one that was capable of acceptance, despite submissions made to the contrary. 


However, he ultimately found that the Bank’s ‘acceptance’ letter was in fact a counter-offer, given that it contained different terms.  The Bank had unsuccessfully argued that Part 36 was a self-governing code and thus the Bank’s reference in its letter to Part 36 meant that the common law presumption of a counter-offer displacing an offer did not apply.


Therefore the case had not been settled and is now awaiting trial. 


Unless it settles this time…



Latest News & Events

The Dekagram: 17th June 2024

This week’s Dekagram features a case involving an optimistic English claimant seeking to have his claim against an English defendant determined by the Spanish courts. It will be of interest to anyone advising on or litigating claims with a foreign element arising out of consumer…

Personal Injury Briefing: June 2024

Welcome to the latest edition of the Deka Personal Injury team briefing. In this edition we will be focusing on ‘Witness Statements’ and ‘Fundamental Dishonesty and Indemnity Costs.’ Laura Hibberd provides some very helpful guidance through a series of ‘cautionary tales.’  It may be said…

The Contaminated Blood Scandal: Part 1 – the background

In the 1970’s the NHS had an almost insatiable need for blood. New treatments needed large quantities of “hema” and a scientific discovery gave a group of sick individuals a reprieve (or so they thought) from their suffering.   Haemophiliacs lack a specific protein, factor…

Subscribe to our mailing list

Deka Chambers: 5 Norwich Street, London EC4A 1DR

© Deka Chambers 2024


Portfolio Builder

Select the expertise that you would like to download or add to the portfolio

Download    Add to portfolio   
Title Type CV Email

Remove All


Click here to share this shortlist.
(It will expire after 30 days.)