Contact us on

020 7611 4848

email us


Arrange a Callback

Ask a Question

Estoppel by Judgment

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Estoppel is a long-established doctrine of English law that literally means to stop. It has a wide range of uses but can broadly be described as a rule that prevents a person who causes another to rely upon acts or words from later denying those acts or words. The operation of the doctrine changes according to particular circumstances and there is a rich vein of case law underlying the distinct areas in which it applies.

Estoppel by Judgement is related to the doctrine of ‘Res Judicata’ which, translated from Latin, means ‘a thing adjudged’ or ‘a matter already decided’. It aims to conserve judicial resources and prevent abuse of the court system by stopping a party from litigating any claim or defence already judged between the parties.

The Parties Estopped

The parties prevented from re-litigating are not necessarily just the individuals who have had a judgement made between them but also their privies which include:

  1. Privies in blood such as ancestors;
  2. Privies in law such as a bankrupt and his trustee in bankruptcy; and
  3. Privies in estate such as a landlord and tenant.

The relationship of party and privy only arises where the privy derives title from the party to proceedings; a similar interest of itself is not enough to establish the status of privy. Also, it is necessary to show that the privy derives his title subsequent to the recovery of the judgement or at least the beginning of the proceedings.

Cases of quasi-privity may arise where there is not a strict relationship of privity between the parties but the relationship is such that it gives rise to estoppel. For example, where an indemnity contract exists, the indemnifier may be prevented from defending the same action if the original action was defended with his knowledge and approval.

Litigating in the Same Right

Estoppel can only be used if the party or its privy attempts to sue or defend in the same right as the earlier proceedings. A claim based upon a different right of action will not raise estoppel even if it is based on the same set of facts.

Pleading Estoppel

Only parties who were party or privy to the earlier proceedings may rely on estoppel to prevent new proceedings. Again the party must be attempting to estop a claim that is being made in the same right as the earlier proceedings.

Rollingsons has experienced solicitors who can advise you in respect of disputes and litigation; if you would like more information please contact us on 0207 611 4848.