Gleeson v J Wippell and Co Ltd: ChD 1977

The court considered the circumstances giving rise to a plea of res judicata, and proposed a test of privity in cases which did not fall into any recognised category. ‘Second, it seems to me that the sub-stratum of the doctrine is that a man ought not to be allowed to litigate a second time what has already been decided between himself and the other party to the litigation. This is in the interest both of the successful party and of the public. But I cannot see that this provides any basis for a successful defendant to say that the successful defence is a bar to the plaintiff suing some third party, or for that third party to say that the successful defence prevents the plaintiff from suing him, unless there is a sufficient degree of identity between the successful defendant and the third party. I do not say that one must be the alter ego of the other: but it does seem to me that having due regard to the subject matter in dispute, there must be a sufficient degree of identification between the two to make it just to hold that the decision to which one was party should be binding in the proceedings to which the other is party. It is in that sense that I would regard the phrase ‘privity of interest’. Thus in relation to trust property I think there will normally be a sufficient privity between the trustees and their beneficiaries to make a decision that is binding on the trustees also binding on the beneficiaries, and vice versa.’ ‘ but ‘Any contention which leads to the conclusion that a person is liable to be condemned unheard is plainly open to the gravest of suspicion. A defendant ought to be able to put his own defence in his own way and to call his own evidence.’

Sir Robert Megarry VC
[1977] 1 WLR 510, [1977] 3 All ER 54
England and Wales
Cited by:
ApprovedJohnson 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 . .
CitedWiltshire v Powell and others CA 7-May-2004
The claimant sought a declaration as to the ownership of an aircraft. Saying he had bought it in good faith from E H and S, who in turn similarly claimed to have bought it from Ebbs. The defendant had obtained a judgment that he was owner as against . .
CitedMeretz Investments Nv and Another v ACP Ltd and others ChD 30-Jan-2006
The applicant challenged the exercise of a power of sale under a mortgage, saying that the mortgagee’s purposes included purposes not those under the mortgage. The parties had been involved in an attempted development of a penthouse.
Held: The . .
CitedNelson v Greening and Sykes (Builders) Ltd CA 18-Dec-2007
The builders had obtained a charging order for the costs awarded to them in extensive litigation, and a third party costs order but without the third party having opportunity to test the bill delivered. They had agreed to sell land to the defendant, . .
CitedThe Thomas and Agnes Carvel Foundation v Carvel and Another ChD 11-Jun-2007
The husband and wife had made mutual wills in the US with an express agreement not to make later alterations or dispositions without the agreement of the other or at all after the first death. The wife survived, but having lost the first will made a . .
CitedCheltenham Borough Council v Laird QBD 15-Jun-2009
The council sought damages saying that their former chief executive had not disclosed her history of depressive illness when applying for her job.
Held: The replies were not dishonest as the form could have been misconstrued. The claim failed. . .
CitedThe Secretary of State for Trade and Industry v Bairstow CA 11-Mar-2003
The Secretary of State attempted, in the course of director’s disqualification proceedings, to rely upon findings made against Mr Bairstow in an earlier wrongful dismissal action to which he had been a party but the Secretary of State not. The . .
CitedOMV Petrom Sa v Glencore International Ag ComC 7-Feb-2014
The claimant sought to have struck out as abuse of process parts of the defence, saying that the factual issues raised had already been resolved in arbitration proceedings, but as against a different oarty. The defendant replied that the arbitration . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Litigation Practice

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.198724