Return Statement in Try-Catch

In this lesson, we'll walk through the case of return statements in the try-catch block.

Return statements

When both catch and finally return values, what will be the final result?

In this case, we have to separate the solution into referential and primitive returning values.

Returning primitive values

class Exceptions {
public static void main( String args[] ) {
System.out.print("Returned Value is: "+method1());
public static int method1() {
int value = 1;
throw new ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException();
}catch(ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException e){
value = 2;
System.out.println("Exception caught value is "+ value);
return value; // value is being returned inside catch
value = 3;
System.out.println("Finally value is now "+ value);
return value; // value is being returned inside finally

The finally block will still execute, even if the catch block has a return statement.

If both catch and finally return, the receiving method will get the returned value from the finally block.

Returning referential values

class Parent {
public static void main(String[] args) {
Child c = new Child();
System.out.print("Returned Value is "+c.method1()[0]);
class Child{
public int[] method1() {
int value = 10;
int[] arr = {1};
}catch(ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException e){
System.out.println("Exception caught value is "+ arr[0]);
return arr; // value is being returned from inside catch
arr[0] = 2;
System.out.println("Finally value is "+ arr[0]);
return arr; //returning a referential type variable

Here, the returned value is 2, which was updated in the finally block.

With the primitive types (passed by value), the returned value comes from finally. Here, we don’t have a return statement inside the finally block. So, if the exception is caught, the result is returned through the return statement inside the catch clause. Here, finally has a referential type variable through which the value can be accessed and updated, as seen above.

This results in the reference having an updated value. However, if finally was simply returned without updating, the value would also be returned.


  • In a try-catch-finally block that has return statements, only the value from the finally block will be returned.
  • When returning reference types, be aware of any updates being done on them in the finally block that could end up in unwanted results.