The claimant had retained the defendant as architect in connection with certain construction works that the claimant wished to be carried out at his property. Before the works were completed certain disputes arose between the two parties. The claimant instructed solicitors who wrote a letter of claim to the defendant particularising the claimant’s failure to administer the building contract with due care and skill. In particular it was alleged that there were failures in respect of a variation in colour consistency of the mortar and an extremely poor standard of workmanship in most of the bricklaying and pointing.

The defendant’s solicitor responded with a general denial accompanied by a part 36 offer, offering payment of £35,000.00 in full and final settlement of all claims made by the claimant inclusive of costs and interest. The claimant accepted this offer in “full and final settlement of all claims made by our client (inclusive of interest and costs)”.

Two years later the claimant’s solicitor again wrote to the defendant with a second detailed letter of claim, alleging claims that were different to the previous claim. The letter stated, among other things, that the claimant had discovered that the limestone mortar used in the brick walls was unsuitable and should not have been approved by the defendant.

The defendant’s solicitor rejected the claim on the basis that the condition of the brickwork and mortar was known to the claimant at the time of the settlement and therefore the matters had been settled.

The issue was whether the matters raised in the second claim had already been settled. The defendant contended that they had and sought to strike out the claimant’s case as disclosing no reasonable cause of action or alternatively as an abuse of process.