Civil Liability Act 1961

Estoppel when contribution is claimed.

29

29. (1) In any proceeding for contribution, the contributor shall not be entitled to resist the claim on the ground that the claimant who has paid the injured person was not liable to such person; but, subject to this section and to the general law of estoppel, he may resist the claim on the ground that he himself is not liable to such person and, for this purpose, may dispute any question of law or fact even though that question arises also on the liability of the claimant to the injured person; and the contributor may in the same way dispute the amount of the damage suffered by the injured person.

(2) Where a claim for contribution is made by third-party notice in the injured person’s action and the third party is given leave to defend the main action, he shall be bound by the finding of the court upon the questions that he is given leave to defend.

(3) Where the contributor had knowledge of an action brought by the injured person against the claimant, and unreasonably failed to make a proposal for assisting the claimant in the defence of the action, and the injured person obtained judgment against the claimant, the contributor shall, in any proceeding brought against him by the claimant, be estopped from disputing the propriety or amount of the judgment obtained by the injured person or any question of law or fact common to the claimant’s liability to the injured person and the contributor’s liability to the injured person: but the contributor shall not be so estopped where the claimant submitted to judgment in fraud of the contributor.

(4) In any proceeding for contribution the claimant shall be bound by any finding of law or fact in the injured person’s action against him that was necessary to establish his liability to the injured person.

(5) Where the injured person has sued the claimant and contributor together and failed against the contributor, the claimant shall, in any proceeding for contribution, be bound by any finding of law or fact that was necessary to negative the contributor’s liability to the injured person: provided that—

( a) the claimant shall not be so bound where the injured person submitted to judgment in fraud of the claimant;

( b) this subsection shall not apply where the injured person’s action was brought in a court outside the State, unless by the law of the court the claimant had an opportunity of presenting evidence against the contributor, of appealing against a judgment in his favour and of contesting an appeal by him.

(6) ( a) A decision on the proportion of fault between claimant and contributor on a claim for contribution shall be binding upon the same persons in a subsequent claim in respect of damage suffered by one or both of them arising out of the same facts, and, conversely, such a decision in a claim in respect of such damage shall be binding upon the same persons in a subsequent claim for contribution.

( b) Paragraph (a) of this subsection shall apply between two parties notwithstanding that one of them is party to the two actions in different capacities.

(7) A concurrent wrongdoer who makes a payment to the injured person without action in settlement of the injured person’s claim against himself and who subsequently claims contribution under section 22 shall, where the injured person has sued the contributor, be bound by the apportionment made by the court in the injured person’s action in accordance with paragraph (h) of subsection (1) of section 35.

(8) It shall not be a defence to a claim for contribution merely to show that the injured person has failed in an action against the contributor to which the claimant was not a party.