Puneet Varma

Henderson v Henderson

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Decided  20 July 1843
Judge(s) sitting  Sir James Wigram, VC
Ruling court  Court of Chancery
Transcript(s)  CommonLII
End date  July 20, 1843
Henderson v Henderson
Full case name  Bethel Henderson v Elizabeth Henderson and Others
Citation(s)  (1843) 3 Hare 100, 67 ER 313 [1843] UKPC 6
Prior action(s)  Henderson v Henderson [1843] UKPC 6

Henderson v Henderson (1843) 3 Hare 100, 67 ER 313 was a decision of the English Court of Chancery which confirmed that a party may not raise any claim in subsequent litigation which they ought properly to have raised in a previous action. The case remains good law, and is still cited as authority for the original principle today.



In 1808 two brothers, Bethel and Jordan Henderson, became partners in their father's business which had operations in both Bristol and Newfoundland. In 1817 the father, William Henderson left the business and subsequently (on a date not recorded in the case) died. Subsequently in March 1830 Jordan Henderson also died, and he was survived by his widow, Elizabeth Henderson and their children, Joanna and William.

Jordan Henderson died intestate and his wife was appointed as his administrator. In 1832, Elizabeth Henderson brought legal proceedings in the Colonial Court in Newfoundland against her former brother-in-law, Bethel, alleging that he had not paid certain sums to her and her children which were due under the will of the older William Henderson. She also brought separate proceedings claiming he had failed to provide an account as executor of the will of the older William Henderson, and that he had failed to account for the interest in the partnership held by her late husband. In the end three sets of proceedings were joined, heard and determined by the courts in Newfoundland, and Bethel Henderson was ordered to pay the sum of £26,650 to his former sister-in-law and her family.

Elizabeth Henderson then brought subsequent proceedings in England to try and enforce the debt. In those proceedings Bethel Henderson sought to resist the claim, alleging that the decree of the Colonial Court was irregular. He further alleged that in fact it was the late Jordan Henderson who had drawn sums from the partnership in excess of his entitlement, and that accordingly it was Elizabeth Henderson who (as administrator of Jordan's estate) owed money to him. However, Bethel Henderson had not sought to advance any of these claims in the legal proceedings in Newfoundland.


The Vice Chancellor, Sir James Wigram, gave the judgment of the Court. He refused to allow Bethel Henderson to impugn the proceedings of the Colonial Court by seeking an injunction to restrain enforcement. He held that any action to challenge that judgment could only be made by way of appeal.

He also refused to allow the separate claim of Bethel Henderson against the widow. In a frequently cited passage, he held that:

Subsequent decisions

The decision is still good law, and has been cited with approval numerous times, including:

  • Johnson v Gore Wood & Co [2000] UKHL 65
  • Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited v Zodiac Seats UK Limited [2013] UKSC 46
  • Arnold v National Westminster Bank plc [1991] 2 AC 93
  • Dexter v Vlieland-Boddy [2003] EWCA Civ 14
  • Aldi Stores v WSP Group plc [2008] 1 WLR 748
  • Henley v Bloom [2010] 1 WLR 1770
  • References

    Henderson v Henderson Wikipedia

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