Morris v Wentworth-Stanley: CA 4 Sep 1998

Two actions had been brought by a contractor against the partners in a farming partnership. Those actions were consolidated. One of the partners died and when the plaintiff found that out he discontinued his claims against the deceased partner and Mrs Wentworth-Stanley, the wife of that deceased partner, and proceeded solely against the third partner, O. The consolidated actions were settled for an agreed sum payable by O which O failed to pay. Thereafter the plaintiff accepted a lump sum from O’s son in final satisfaction of the judgment. The plaintiff then brought proceedings against Mrs Wentworth-Stanley for the same relief but reduced by the amount of pounds 45,000. The Divisional court had held that irrespective of its decision on accord and satisfaction the prosecution of the fresh proceedings against a defendant against whom the original proceedings had been discontinued was an abuse of process.
Held: The releasing of the party from the earlier proceedings amounted to an election and breach of that election by bringing a further action amounted to fraud. The principle underlying abuse of process decisions may be applied where a plaintiff fails to join a defendant who should have been joined in earlier proceedings.
A discharge of one joint debtor by accord and satisfaction, unless there is an expressed or implied agreement that the creditor’s rights against them are preserved, discharges all joint debtors in accordance with a general principle that a joint liability creates only a single obligation.


Potter LJ


[1998] EWCA Civ 1427, [1999] QB 1004, [1999] 2 WLR 470


England and Wales


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Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Litigation Practice, Contract

Updated: 25 November 2022; Ref: scu.144906