Written offers to settle cases may replace the current system of payment into court if proposals from the Lord Chancellor's Department (LCD) are adopted.

The LCD has issued a consultation document that seeks opinions on a number of options to reform the current process.

Interested parties have until November 12 to give their responses.

Views are being sought on whether the payment into court system should be retained in any form and if written offers to settle would provide a suitable alternative.

The LCD is also asking for opinions on whether a dual system of payment into court and written offers should be used for claims involving money under the Civil Procedure Rules, and if the Court Service should retain responsibility for the payments in satisfaction system.

The consultation follows a review of the Public Trust Office in November 1999 which recommended the LCD look at ways of ending the need to pay money into court.