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Offers to Settle in Queen's Bench Cases

Parties can decide to settle their case any time before there is a judgment in the case but formal offers to settle using Part 4 of the Queen’s Bench Rules of Court must be made at least 10 days before the trial is scheduled to start. Below is a brief summary of these rules. If you are going to make or accept a formal offer to settle you should read these rules in full.

Unless the parties agree otherwise, a formal offer is assumed to have been ‘without prejudice’ and is not an admission of anything. Formal offers that are not accepted cannot be disclosed to the court until after a judgment is made.

A formal offer to settle is made using Form 4-26 of the Queen’s Bench Forms. The offer should be very specific. For example, if a sum of money must be paid the exact amount must be stated. An offer to settle cannot ask for everything you asked for in your claim. It must offer some kind of compromise. It must include:

  • the name of the party making the offer and the name of the party the offer is being made to
  • what the offer is and any conditions attached to it
  • whether the amount of the offer includes any interest and, if not what date and at what rate interest is payable under the terms of the offer
  • whether or not the amount of the offer is includes costs and, if not, the amount of the costs and the date to which they are payable under the terms of the offer
  • what needs to be done to accept the offer
  • a form for the other party to sign if they accept the offer
  • a copy of rule 4-31 (this rule provides that if a party turns down a formal offer and the other party later obtains a court order that is as good as or better than what was offered the party that turned down the offer generally has to pay double costs)

A formal offer cannot be withdrawn without the permission of the court and is open for acceptance for at least 30 days or a longer period set out in the offer. The party that wants to accept the offer must serve the other party with notice that it has been accepted. After that the party who made the offer can apply to court for a judgment based on the terms of the offer.

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