Talbot 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 tortfeasors but including no claim for the driver’s own injuries. The driver later discovered his insurer’s action and himself sought damages from the council.
Held: A cause of action estoppel, which estops a plaintiff pursuing a second action which could have been combined with a first action, applied to an action for personal injuries to prevent a motorist suing a highway authority. The insurers’ solicitors appeared to have been negligent but the claim against the county council should be struck out unless there were special circumstances, and in this case there were not.
Stuart-Smith LJ said: ‘There can be no doubt that the [driver’s] personal injury claim could have been brought at the time of [the passenger’s] action. It could have been included in the original third party notice issued against the council (R.S.C., Ord. 16, r. 1(b)(c)); it could have been started by a separate writ and consolidated with or ordered to be tried with [the passenger’s] action: Ord. 4, r. 9. The third party proceedings could have been amended at any time before trial and perhaps even during the trial to include such a claim, notwithstanding that it was statute-barred, since it arose out of the same or substantially the same facts as the cause of action in respect of which relief was already claimed, namely, contribution or indemnity in respect of [the passenger’s] claim: Ord. 20, r. 5. In my opinion, if it was to be pursued, it should have been so brought.’ and

‘The rule is thus in two parts. The first relates to those points which were actually decided by the court: this is res judicata in the strict sense. Secondly, those which might have been brought forward at the time, but were not. The second is not a true case of res judicata but rather is founded on the principle of public policy in preventing multiplicity of actions, it being in the public interest that there should be an end to litigation: the court will stay or strike out the subsequent action as an abuse of process.’
Stuart-Smith LJ, Mann LJ, Nourse LJ
Times 23-Mar-1993, [1994] QB 290
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedC (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 . .
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 . .
CitedBrown v Rice and Another ChD 14-Mar-2007
The parties, the bankrupt and her trustee, had engaged in a mediation which failed at first, but applicant said an agreement was concluded on the day following. The defendants denied this, and the court as asked to determine whether a settlement had . .
CitedDivine-Bortey v London Borough of Brent CA 14-May-1998
The claimant had brought and lost an action relating to his dismissal by the defendant, who now appealed against an order that he was not estopped from bring a second claim on a different basis namely race discrimination, disapplying the rule in . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 29 September 2021; Ref: scu.89696