Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada and others v The Lincoln National Life Insurance Co: CA 10 Dec 2004

The court considered the effect of findings in one arbitration on a subsequent arbitration. The arguments being directed to res judicata.
Held: Mance LJ pointed to important differences between litigation and arbitration as a consensual private affair between the particular parties to a particular arbitration agreement. The fact that, except by consent, other parties cannot be joined, and connected arbitrations cannot be heard together, meant that, ‘Different arbitrations on closely inter-linked issues may as a result lead to different results, even where, as in the present case, the evidence before one tribunal is very largely the same as that before the other’.
Mance LJ said that even if an arbitral tribunal had power to prevent its process from being abused certain considerations would have excluded its use on the facts of the case before the court. First, it was not obviously just to allow a stranger to an arbitration to enjoy a one-sided entitlement to hold a party to an award with a concomitant right to challenge its correctness whenever it appeared favourable to do so. Second, there was no reason why the reinsurer should gain any benefit from an award to which it was not party. Third, there are important differences between arbitration and litigation. In litigation different parties can be joined and trials heard together. By contrast arbitration is a consensual process and there is no ability to join different parties or to try connected matters together save by consent. Thus different conclusions may be reached by different arbitrators on the same evidence


Mance, Longmore, Jacob LJJ


[2004] EWCA Civ 1660, [2005] Lloyd’s LR 606, [2006] 1 All ER (Comm) 675, [2005] 2 CLC 664




England and Wales


AppealfromLincoln National Life Insurance Company v Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada and others ComC 26-Feb-2004
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Cited by:

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 . .
CitedMichael Wilson and Partners Ltd v Sinclair and Others ComC 21-Sep-2012
The claimant company alleged that the defendants had variously received assests (shares and cash) acquired by a former partner in the claimant company and held on his behalf, in breach of his obligations to the caimant partnership. The defendants . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 27 June 2022; Ref: scu.220179