C (A Minor) v Hackney London Borough Council: CA 10 Nov 1995

The mother had claimed in damages for the injuries to her health from the landlord authority’s failure to repair. Her child then brought a subsequent action in respect of his own injuries. The authority claimed the action should be stopped as res judicata.
Held: The child’s injuries from bad housing were a separate claim from those of her mother, and the action should proceed. The fact of the child’s disability meant that the erstwhile practice risked subverting CCR Ord 10 r10
Simon Brown LJ said: ‘I therefore reject entirely the submission that Yat Tung Investment Co. Ltd. v. Dao Heng Bank Ltd. [1975] A.C. 581 justifies extending the Talbot v. Berkshire County Council [1994] Q.B. 290 principle – that an unlitigated monetary claim is barred if it could have been advanced and established in earlier proceedings (itself to my mind an extended application of the res judicata doctrine) – to those not themselves party to the earlier proceedings.
It follows from all this that in my judgment the doctrine of res judicata even in its widest sense has simply no application to the circumstances of the present case and that the judge erred in ruling to the contrary. One does not, therefore, reach the point of asking here whether special circumstances exist to exclude it; C’s erstwhile solicitors’ suggested negligence is, frankly, an irrelevance. Nor, in my judgment, does this case come within measurable distance of any other form of abuse of process based on public policy considerations analogous to those underlying the res judicata doctrine: see, for instance, the Court of Appeal’s decision in Ashmore v. British Coal Corporation [1990] 2 Q.B. 338.
All that said, this judgment should not be taken as any encouragement to lawyers or their clients to follow the course in fact adopted here. As the judge rightly recognised, in circumstances such as these, it is plainly in the public interest to have a single action in which the claims of all the affected members of the household are included rather than a multiplicity of actions . . .’
Simon Brown LJ
Times 10-Nov-1995, [1996] 1 WLR 789
England and Wales
CitedYat Tung Investment Co Ltd v Dao Heng Bank Ltd PC 1975
Restraint of Second Action as Abuse
Hong Kong – A company purchased a property from the defendant bank who had taken it back into possession from a former borrower. The company itself fell into arrears, the property was taken back again and resold. The company sought a declaration . .
CitedTalbot v Berkshire County Council CA 23-Mar-1993
In a motor accident, both driver and passenger were injured. The passenger sued the driver. The driver’s insurers, without notice to the driver, made a third party claim against the Berkshire County Council, claiming contribution as between joint . .
CitedAshmore v British Coal Corporation CA 1990
The plaintiff was one of many female employees who complained to the industrial tribunal that she was paid less by the defendant than her male counterparts. Sample cases were selected for trial and the others stayed pending a decision. It was an . .

Cited by:
CitedJohnson v Gore Wood and Co HL 14-Dec-2000
Shareholder May Sue for Additional Personal Losses
A company brought a claim of negligence against its solicitors, and, after that claim was settled, the company’s owner brought a separate claim in respect of the same subject-matter.
Held: It need not be an abuse of the court for a shareholder . .

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Updated: 02 June 2021; Ref: scu.78796