My Word Is My Payment In

The recent case of Cole - v - Chief Officer of the

States of Jersey Police [2008] JRC 191 held that the

courts in Jersey ought to attach weight to an offer of settlement

when deciding the issue of costs, even if such offer was not

fortified by a payment in.

The Plaintiff had sought temporary employment with Jersey Post

over the Christmas period in 2001. He was provisionally offered

employment, subject to a police check, but following that check the

offer was withdrawn. The Plaintiff sued both Jersey Post and Jersey

Police. After a strike out application, he was forced to amend his


On 13th June 2007 the Defendant wrote to the

Plaintiff offering £2,500 in full and final settlement of the

damages element of his claim. The offer was stated to be open until

close of business on 22nd June 2007 (the last working

day before the trial was due to start). The offer was not accepted.

At trial Mr. Cole abandoned his claim for all damages, save general

damages, and was ultimately awarded £750.

Costs Hearing

There followed a further hearing over costs. The Royal Court

found, in Watkins and Connell - v - Egglishaw and

others [2002] JLR 1, that Jersey has generally followed

English principles when deciding how its wide discretion to award

costs ought to be exercised and that there was every reason to

continue that practice following the impact of the Civil Procedure

Rules ("CPR").

Impact Of The CPR

The Royal Court, in Sim - v - Thomas [2001] JLR

204 stated that the position in Jersey in respect of

Calderbank offers was that of the pre-Woolf,

English position that a Calderbank offer should

not be used as a substitute for a payment into court where such a

payment in would be appropriate (Cutts - v - Head

[1984] Ch. 290). The court held that if, as

Watkins held, Jersey courts should ordinarily

follow English principles on costs, even if those principles

followed the impact of the CPR, then it would be inconsistent for

the Jersey courts not to follow English practice.

As such, the court adopted and (slightly) adapted the principles

set out by the English Court of Appeal in the case of

Trustees of Stokes Pension Fund - v - Western Power

Distribution (South West) plc [2005] EWCA Civ 854. This

case stated that "an offer should usually be treated as

having the same effect as a payment into court" so long

as the following conditions were satisfied:

The offer should be expressed in clear terms, setting out those

parts of the claim to which it applies, whether...

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