Offers to settle must be made at least 7 business days before trial.
In a jury trial, trial starts not with jury selection, not with opening statements, but when the first witness begins their testimony.
Clarity in Offers
Offers must have clear terms and one ought to bear in mind that damages, interest and costs should be considered.
In terms of damages, plaintiffs want their offer as high as possible yet low enough to be beatable. Defendants want their offer as low as possible yet high enough to be beatable.
With regards to interest, a contractual interest rate can be considered. If interest is pursuant to the Courts of Justice Act, such an interest rate is presently low and not worth a great deal of consideration unless damages are high. It might make sense to offer $X for damages and interest.
For costs, the simplest language is costs of $Y if accepted by a certain date and $Z if accepted after a certain date.
An all-inclusive offer to settle may lack certainty in terms of costs, because judgments are awarded as damages plus interest plus costs, so while and all-inclusive number may be practical during negotiations, offers have more clarity when they deal with damages, interest and costs.
Ontario Civil Trial Manual
This manual is trial information, not trial legal advice.
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