Res judicata and foreign judgments

The following Dispute Resolution practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Res judicata and foreign judgments
  • Relevance of res judicata for foreign judgments
  • Interim judgments
  • Requirements for a foreign judgment to establish res judicata
  • First requirement—for the foreign judgment to create an estoppel
  • Second requirement—same parties
  • Third requirement—same cause of action or same issues
  • Abuse of process
  • Common law doctrine of merger and foreign judgments
  • Abuse of process and foreign judgments
  • More...

Res judicata and foreign judgments

This Practice Note considers res judicata and provides an introduction as to whether it can be raised in respect of a foreign judgment. It is necessary to determine whether the foreign judgment will be recognised and whether it is res judicata. The Practice Note considers specific issues regarding foreign judgments and the doctrine of merger in judgment, issue estoppel and abuse of process as well as defences to a res judicata in respect of a foreign judgment and res judicata in respect of foreign arbitral awards.

This Practice Note assumes a general understanding of the common law doctrine of res judicata. For guidance, see Practice Note The doctrine of res judicata.

Relevance of res judicata for foreign judgments

The relevance of res judicata is that the foreign judgment operates as a defence to proceedings in the courts of England and Wales. Where a foreign court has delivered a judgment in a civil or commercial matter, a defendant to proceedings in the courts of England and Wales may rely on two forms of estoppel:

  1. cause of action estoppel—the claimant is prevented from pursuing the same claim as that determined by the foreign judgment. For guidance on the general principles, see Practice Note: Cause of action estoppel

  2. issue estoppel—the cause of action is different from that determined by the foreign judgment but the claimant is

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