11th November 2020
The Claimant (C) appeals against the order dated 16/12/19 by Anthony Metzer QC (sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge) staying the claim on the terms of a consent order.
The case raises an issue about the effect of the label “subject to contract” when used in correspondence between solicitors in the context of a settlement negotiation, and the extent to which that label may be disregarded by the court in holding that a binding compromise has been reached.
The judge held that the parties reached a concluded agreement on 11/7/19 and therefore the C’s application succeeded.
The C submits that the deputy judge was wrong to hold that a legally enforceable settlement agreement had been concluded in circumstances where the communication of both the offer and its acceptance were headed “subject to contract”. The C argues that the judgment undermines a long-established principle of the common law.