Stewart v Engel, BDO Stoy Hayward: CA 17 May 2000

A judge may reopen a case even after he has delivered his final judgment. A judge invited counsel to amend his pleading to incorporate an improvement, but in the face of his repeated failure to take up the invitation, entered final judgment against him. After advice from leading counsel, counsel requested the judgment be reopened to allow the amendment. This was allowed, and again on appeal. The discretion is however strictly limited, and the arguments are quite different after final judgment. The Barrell jurisdiction survives the implementation of the Civil Procedure Rules but must be ‘very cautiously and sparingly exercised.’
Clarke LJ dissented in part. He did not think that the court was bound by Barrell to look for exceptional circumstances. He took as a starting point the overriding objective in the Civil Procedure Rules of enabling the court to deal with cases justly.


Roch, Clarke LJJ, Sir Christopher Clarke


Times 26-May-2000, [2000] 1 WLR 2268, [2000] EWCA Civ 362, [2000] 3 All ER 518, [2001] ECDR 25, [2001] CP Rep 9




Civil Procedure Rules


England and Wales


CitedIn re Barrell Enterprises CA 1972
A judge has power to reconsider a judgement which he has delivered before the order consequent upon it has been sealed, but the judge should only exercise this power if there are strong reasons for doing so. When oral judgments have been given the . .

Cited by:

CitedBloomsbury Publishing Group Ltd and J K Rowling v News Group Newspapers Ltd and others ChD 23-May-2003
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CitedBowerbank v Amos (Formerly Staff) CA 31-Jul-2003
The parties had gone into business together. After a breakdown, they had now spent very considerable sums in litigation. At the trial, the judge allowed an amendment of the claim after the close of evidence. He considered that it related to matters . .
CitedRobinson v Fernsby, Scott-Kilvert CA 19-Dec-2003
The judge had drafted his judgment and sent the drafts to the parties for comment. He then received additional written representations from one party, from which he realised that he had made an error, and issued a corrected judgment which a . .
CitedR Griggs Group Ltd and others v Evans and others (No 2) ChD 12-May-2004
A logo had been created for the claimants, by an independent sub-contractor. They sought assignment of their legal title, but, knowing of the claimant’s interest the copyright was assigned to a third party out of the jurisdiction. The claimant . .
CitedNorth British Housing Association Ltd v Matthews, Same v Others CA 21-Dec-2004
In each case the tenants requested adjournment of the possession proceedings brought against them by the landlord for arrears of rent to allow them time to bring the arrears below the level at which a possession order could be made. In each case it . .
CitedJudge v Judge and others CA 19-Dec-2008
The wife appealed against an order refusing to set aside an earlier order for ancillary relief in her divorce proeedings, arguing that it had been made under a mistake. The sum available for division had had deducted an expected liabiliity to the . .
CitedRe L and B (Children) SC 20-Feb-2013
The court was asked as to the extent to which a court, having once declared its decision, could later change its mind. Though this case arose with in care proceedings, the court asked it as a general question. The judge in a fact finding hearing in . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Litigation Practice

Updated: 23 May 2022; Ref: scu.135755