I’m bored of writing about coronavirus related issues so I thought I’d write about near misses instead.

I’ve always said that my job is half about the law, and half about tactics/commerciality. For example, it doesn’t matter how good your claim is if the other side are borderline bankrupt. Which means that the first thing you do is not to consider the case, but to consider your opponent. Where are they, what have they got and can I get my hands on it.

Negotiations are also an art form in themselves, which often have less to do with the case, and more to do with the parties.

If you know the other side are gung-ho, then trying to bluff them into settling isn’t going to work and will just run up costs unnecessarily.

If you do think an offer is worth making, then consider the figures very carefully. It can sometimes be better to offer a bit more than you think it’s worth, than a bit less.

In a recent case worth around £75,000, the Defendant made an offer that turned out to be £1 less than the amount that was actually awarded. So whilst the Defendant only had to pay £1 more than they’d offered, because they hadn’t “beaten” the offer, they also had to pay all the costs and interest. That £1 cost them thousands. They would have been better off offering say £100 above their best case scenario, and saving themselves much much more. In fact, they might have been better off not making an offer at all, because they would have spent time and money on the negotiations, which ultimately led to nothing, and then spent more time and money in arguing over whether the £1 difference meant that they had won or lost.

So the moral of this story is that if you are really serious about settling, then make a serious offer. Otherwise, fight and be damned!

Kleyman & Co Solicitors.  The full service law firm.  Serious as hell!