Mohammed v. The Home Office

Mathew Lawton, Costs Consultant at PIC reports on the case of Mohammed v. The Home Office

High Court: 10% Part 36 uplift applies to damages plus basic interest

In Mohammed v the Home Office [2017] EWHC 3051(QB) the High Court made it clear that the additional 10% uplift on damages the Courts can award for beating a Part 36 Offer means an uplift on damages plus basic interest.

Mr Abdulrahman Mohammed was awarded £78,500 plus interest for unjust imprisonment for a total period of 445 days. Mr Mohammed’s Solicitors had earlier made the Home Office a Part 36 Offer of £70,000.

Considering first the enhanced interest he should award under rule 36.17(4)(a), Mr Edward Pepperall QC, sitting as a High Court Deputy, said: “While judges are required to take into account ‘all of the circumstances’, it does not follow that each circumstance prayed in aid will necessarily be relevant to the exercise of the Court’s discretion under Part 36. As I explained in my main Judgment, the fact that Mr Mohammed is a criminal who had been lawfully imprisoned on a number of occasions did not mean that he was not entitled to compensation for false imprisonment, but it did moderate the award.”

Mr Pepperall in delivering his Judgment said that among the relevant matters in calculating enhanced interest were the Home Office’s own submissions on quantum, which valued the case “very much in the region of the Part 36 Offer” and that the Part 36 Offer should “always have been recognised as a reasonable offer that put the Home Office at risk under Part 36 in the event that liability was established”. Another factor was the time between Part 36 Offer and Judgment as there had been over seven months elapsing between the deadline for accepting the offer and the Trial.

Mr Pepperall said in his Judgement that the proper construction was clear. “In calculating the additional amount, the Court should take into account the gross award that would have been made but for Part 36. That is the sum that the Court was about to award when taken to the Part 36 offer.” This included basic interest, whether awarded pursuant to contract or the Court’s discretionary power, but excluded any enhanced interest awarded under rule 36.17(4)(a). Accordingly, the Claimant was awarded an uplift of 10% on his damages award plus agreed interest under the Senior Courts Act 1981.

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