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Civil procedure and the CPR: collateral oral agreements

In the final article of his three part review, DAS LawAssist consultant David Chalk outlines the relationship between the general law of contract and the rules applicable in civil procedure, and finds that collateral oral agreements can be taken into account by the court and the failure to use "subject to contract" in negotiation leads to binding settlements

25 September 2014

This final part of a consideration of the law of contract in civil procedure looks at two very different contexts and finds a lukewarm adoption of the general law.

Settlement and subject to contract

Newbury v Sun Microsystems [2013] EWHC 2180 (QB) is a case in point. Here, nine days before trial, the defendant's solicitors sent a letter setting out terms of settlement of a dispute, stating: "such settlement to be recorded in a suitably worded agreement". The letter used the word 'offer' and stated that the offer was open until 5pm (later extended to 5.30pm) on a specified date. The claimant responded before expiry, stating that the offer was accepted and that a draft agreement would be forwarded. The parties subsequently failed to agree on the wording of the draft agreement.

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