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Hugh Grant’s privacy claim against News Group Newspapers, the publisher of the Sun newspaper, has been settled and it appears that a tactical Part 36 offer was made to bring the actor’s claim to an end.

Whilst the terms of the settlement are confidential Grant has expressed his disappointment in not continuing with his claim but explained the reason why he chose to settle on X (formerly Twitter).

“As is common with entirely innocent people, they are offering me an enormous sum of money to keep this matter out of court.”

“I don’t want to accept this money or settle. I would love to see all the allegations that they deny tested in court.”

“But the rules around civil litigation mean that if I proceed to trial and the court awards me damages that are even a penny less than the settlement offer, I would have to pay the legal costs of both sides.”

“My lawyers tell me that this is exactly what would most likely happen here. Rupert Murdoch’s lawyers are very expensive. So even if every allegation is proven in court, I would still be liable for something approaching £10 million in costs. I’m afraid I am shying at that fence…”

Grant’s case demonstrates how the risk of a Part 36 offer can change the dynamic of a claim progressing when the usual costs risks change.

Part 36 offers are a useful tool in litigation and, if used correctly, offer a significant cost advantage. They can be made by either party at any stage in litigation and provide a means of putting pressure on your opponent to settle a case as the penalties that may be incurred in respect of damages, costs and interest can be considerable depending on whether the offer is accepted or declined.

Part 36 offers are a very specific type of settlement offer which must be made in a prescribed way. Careful thought needs to be given when making, accepting or declining such an offer.

If you have received an offer or are thinking about making one, please contact Julie Spencer on 01727 229319 or jsx@debenhamsottaway.co.uk who will be able to assist you.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.