Stephenson v Garnett

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
Judgment Date1898
CourtCourt of Appeal

Practice - Staying Action - Frivolous and vexatious Action - Interlocutory Application in County Court - Subsequent Action in High Court raising same Question.

In an action in a county court judgment was recovered for a sum of money and costs, but before the costs were taxed the plaintiff agreed, on a representation of the poverty of the defendant, to accept a smaller sum than that for which judgment had been given, and executed a deed releasing the defendant from the judgment debt and costs. Subsequently the plaintiff carried in his bill of costs, and applied to the county court judge for an order to tax, upon the ground that the release had been obtained by misrepresentation. The judge, after hearing evidence, found that the execution of the deed had been obtained by misrepresentation, and made an order that the costs should be taxed, and should be paid together with the balance remaining due under the judgment. The defendant in that action thereupon brought the present action in the High Court for a declaration that he had been released from the judgment debt and costs, and for an injunction to restrain further proceedings to enforce payment thereof:—

Held, that as the question raised in this action was identical with that decided by the county court judge upon the interlocutory application, and had been decided by a court of competent jurisdiction, the action ought to be stayed as frivolous and vexatious and an abuse of the process of the Court.

APPEAL from an order of a judge at chambers reversing an order of the district registrar at Leeds.

The defendant in the present action sued the plaintiff in the Leeds County Court and recovered judgment for 45l. 16s. 6d. and costs to be taxed; but, before the costs were taxed, he agreed to accept 25l., payable by instalments, in settlement of the judgment debt and costs, and executed a deed whereby, in consideration of the payment of 25l. by instalments, he released the plaintiff from the judgment debt and costs, and covenanted not to tax the costs nor to take any proceedings under the judgment so long as the instalments were regularly paid.

The release was executed in consequence of representations made by or on behalf of the plaintiff as to his poverty.

The instalments were duly paid; but the present defendant shortly afterwards carried in his bill of costs for taxation upon the ground that he had since discovered that the release had been obtained from him by misrepresentation. The registrar of the county court referred the matter to the judge, to whom application was accordingly made for an order directing the registrar to tax the costs. The plaintiff was present when the application came on for hearing, and the judge, after hearing evidence, came to the conclusion that the release had been obtained by misrepresentation, and directed the registrar to tax the costs, and ordered the plaintiff to pay the amount of the taxed costs, and the balance of the judgment debt, by instalments.

A judgment summons was issued against the plaintiff for non-payment of an instalment, and the county court judge made an order of commitment against him.

The plaintiff thereupon commenced an action in the High Court, claiming in his statement of claim - (1.) a declaration that the defendant had released him from payment of the judgment debt and costs; and (2.) an injunction to restrain the defendant from continuing proceedings or commencing or prosecuting any other proceedings to...

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178 cases
2 books & journal articles
  • Court of Appeal
    • United Kingdom
    • Sage Journal of Criminal Law, The No. 53-3, August 1989
    • 1 August 1989 struck out "if theidentical question sought to be raised has been already decided byacompetent court": see Stephenson v. Garnett[1898]1Q.B. 677.Ithas been said that it is a "scandal" that by a change in the formof the proceedings a question already decided should be set upagain: Reichel ......
  • Jurisdiction
    • Nigeria
    • DSC Publications Online Sasegbon's Laws of Nigeria. Volume 13 Jurisdiction
    • 10 July 2016
    ...question which has already been decided against him even if the matter is not strictly res judicata. S ee Stephenson v . Garnett (1898) 1 Q.B. 677, C.A. also Spring Grove Services Limited v . Deane (1972) 116 S.J. 844. So reading Order 6 rule 25 of the High Court of Lagos (Civil Procedure) ......

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