Res judicata and foreign judgments
Produced in partnership with Jack Mitchell of Old Square Chambers
Res judicata and foreign judgments

The following Dispute Resolution practice note produced in partnership with Jack Mitchell of Old Square Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Res judicata and foreign judgments
  • Can you assert a res judicata in respect of a foreign judgment?
  • A foreign judgment must be recognised before a res judicata can apply
  • Res judicata and UK judgments—recognition under the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act 1982
  • Res judicata—recognition of EU judgments
  • Res judicata—recognition of foreign judgments under the common law
  • Judgments in rem
  • Judgments in personam
  • How do you establish a res judicata in respect of a foreign judgment?
  • The doctrine of merger in respect of foreign judgments
  • More...

Brexit: The UK's departure from the EU has implications for practitioners considering the recognition and enforcement of judgments. For guidance, see Practice Note: Brexit post implementation period—considerations for dispute resolution practitioners including, in particular, main section: Recognition and enforcement of judgments.

For guidance on the status of Court of Justice judgments in the UK courts, see Q&A: Are UK courts and tribunals bound by decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union post-Brexit?.

Can you assert a res judicata in respect of a foreign judgment?

Yes you may. A res judicata is a decision given by a judge or tribunal with jurisdiction over the cause of action and the parties, which disposes, with finality, of a matter decided so that it cannot be re-litigated by those bound by the judgment, except on appeal.

A judgment:

  1.  in personam—binds the parties and their privies

  2.  in rem—binds anyone, privy or otherwise (ie it is a judgment which binds 'the whole world')

A res judicata will apply to a foreign judgment provided the foreign judgment is:

  1. given in a court of competent jurisdiction

  2. final and conclusive on the merits

  3. recognised by the English court or tribunal

Any question as to a foreign res judicata is a question of fact, which must be established by evidence. The record of the foreign judgment can be proved in accordance with section 7 of the Evidence

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