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House Of Spring Gardens V. Waite Notes

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FACTS The plaintiffs obtained a judgment against all three defendants in the Republic of Ireland for PS3,474,570 and interest of
PS78,337. That was a judgment given by Costello J. initially on 20 December 1982, when he determined the question of liability in favour of the plaintiffs, and on 7 March and 27 April 1983, when he assessed damages in their favour. An appeal by the three defendants to the Supreme Court of Ireland was dismissed with costs on 11 January 1985, save that the amount of interest was, to a small extent, reduced. The purpose of the present proceedings in this country is to enforce the judgment of Costello J. The Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act 1982 does not apply to that judgment. The answer put forward by the defendants in these proceedings is that the judgment of Costello J. was obtained by fraud, namely misrepresentation as to the plaintiffs' entitlement to the confidential information and copyright in issue in the action. Re-trial specifically on the point of fraud: On 21 March 1985 the plaintiffs issued the writ in this action, seeking to enforce the judgment of Costello J. Defences were filed on behalf of all three defendants claiming that his judgment had been obtained by fraud. The matters relied upon were the allegations of Mr. Parish. This claim was dismissed by the Court. HOLDING It is common ground that in proceedings in this country to enforce a foreign judgment as a debt at common law, the defendant can set up a defence that the judgment was obtained by fraud.... But a foreign judgment that is final and conclusive on its merits and is not impeachable on the ground of fraud (or other grounds that are not material) is conclusive as to any matter thereby adjudicated upon and cannot be impeached for any error of fact or law... But for the judgment of Egan J., Costello J.'s judgment could have been impeached on the ground of fraud. But the plaintiffs contend that the judgment of Egan J. is final and conclusive on the issue whether or not the prior judgment was obtained by fraud, and cannot itself be impeached... This is because the foreign judgment can be impeached for fraud even though no newly discovered fraud is relied upon and the fraud might have been, and was, relied upon in the foreign proceedings: see Abouloff v. Oppenheimer & Co. (1882) 10 Q.B.D. 295 and Vadala v. Lawes (1890) 25 Q.B.D. 310. Effect of a separate trial on the question of fraud: These cases have been considerably criticised over the years; they were decided at a time when our courts paid scant regard to the jurisprudence of

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