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Finality See also Appeals (reopening) & Collective redress notes (opt-out / binding opt-in) The value of certainty Ampthill Peerage Case (1977) per Lord Wilberforce
the need for justice, including certainty & finality, can prevail over need for truth
if rights can always be unwound, then are less valuable & creates uncertainty
Exceptions o Appeals, including out of time o Judgments to be attacked on grounds of fraud (at least of a party, if not of witnesses) o Extensions of limitation periods for mistake, fraud etc
Interests o Certainty of rights — favours finality, unless claim based on rights frustrated by factors beyond claimant's control o Access to justice o Proportionate use of public & private resources — proportionality can cut both ways, so fact sensitive o For defendants, peace from litigation & vexation o Public interest in correct outcomes — but time erodes value of evidence o Avoiding inconsistent judgments Rules for avoiding re-litigation Time limits Res judicata
Same parties cannot relitigate same issue — including (a) cause of action estoppel and (b) issue estoppel
Arises only in relation to final judgments — include default & consent judgments
Possibly only adversarial litigation — eg child welfare proceedings excluded
Can be waived — subject to public interest in overriding objective re fair allocation of resources
Applies only to same parties or their privies: Resolution Chemicals o Whether new party had interest in subject matter of previous litigation o Whether new party was in reality the party to the original proceeding o Whether it was just that the new party should be bound by the outcome of the previous litigation
Policy o Protects due process rights of strangers o Judgments inadmissible as evidence in other proceedings: Bairstow
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