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Res means “subject matter,” and judicata means “adjudged” or “decided,” so the phrase means “a matter adjudged”. In other words, the matter before a court has already been resolved by another court and between the same parties. As a result, since the case has already been settled by another judge, the court will dismiss it. Res judicata is a legal principle that refers to both civil and criminal cases. A suit that has been tried in a previous suit, either directly or indirectly, cannot be tried again.

According to ancient Hindu law, res judicata was previously referred to as Purva Nyaya or previous judgment by Hindu lawyers and Muslim jurists. The Commonwealth and European Continent countries have agreed that once a case has been brought to trial, it must not be prosecuted again. The United States Constitution’s Seventh Amendment established the concept of res judicata. In a civil jury martial, it discusses the finality of decisions. In a civil trial, after a court has made a decision, it cannot be reversed by another court unless very strict requirements are met.


The theory of res judicata aims to facilitate the administration of justice in a fair and honest manner while also preventing the misuse of the law. When a litigant wants to bring a subsequent complaint on the same matter after receiving a judgment in a prior case involving the same parties, the concept of res judicata applies. This refers not only to the relevant claims made in the first instance, but also to claims that may have been made during the same case in many jurisdictions.


The following are the pre-requisites for res judicata:

  • A final and binding legal decision made by a competent court or tribunal.
  • Any decision taken solely on the basis of the facts
  • A fair trial
  • It makes no difference if a previous decision was correct or incorrect.


Claim preclusion and issuepreclusion are two terms covered by res judicata. Collateral estoppel is another name for issue preclusion. After a definitive decision on the merits has been made of civil cases, the parties cannot sue each other again. For instance, if a plaintiff wins or loses a lawsuit against the defendant in case A, he will almost certainly be unable to sue the defendant in case B based on the same facts and events and if the evidence and circumstances were the same in a particular court. Issue preclusion, on the other hand, forbids the relitigation of legal questions that have already been decided by the judge in a previous case.

In the case of Gulam Abbas v. State of Uttar Pradesh, the extent was determined. The laws were used as evidence in this case as a plea to a question that had already been tried in a previous case. The judges had a tough time deciding this case because they needed to apply res judicata. It was determined that res judicata is not exhaustive, and that even though the matter is not expressly protected by the section’s provisions, it will be treated as a case of res judicata based on general principles.


The res judicata theory is based on the concepts of fairness, equity, and good faith, and it applies to a variety of civil and criminal cases. The aim of this theory was to instill finality in the legal system.


Where a court fails to apply Res Judicata and makes a different ruling on the same argument or matter, a “last in time” rule may be applied. It gives effect to the later decision, and it makes no difference if the outcome was different the second time around. The parties to the lawsuit are usually responsible for bringing the earlier case to the judge’s attention, and the judge must then determine how to enforce it or whether to consider it at all.


The res judicata doctrine states:

  • That no one should be questioned twice about the same issue.
  • The State is the one that decides whether a case should be dismissed.
  • The correctness of a judicial decision must be acknowledged.


A case that has already been resolved or a matter that has been determined by a ruling or judgment is referred to as res judicata. Both res judicata and stare decisis have to do with adjudication (arbitration). Res judicata is based on the conclusiveness of decision, while stare decisis is based on legal principles. Res judicata binds the parties, while stare decisis binds outsiders and forbids the courts from taking a different opinion on the rule that has already been settled. Stare decisis is primarily concerned with legal principles, while res judicata is concerned with a dispute.


Lowe V Haggerty

A concern was posed in Lowe v. Haggerty about the impact of a previous judgment for defendant when he was sued by the visitor. The driver of the vehicle that was hit by another person was found to be barred from bringing a lawsuit. There was no prior record that revealed what happened in the first case. The court decided that it was impossible to determine what the problem in the previous suit was. In a different case, the parties’ record was disposed of by the court. The plaintiff’s appeal was denied, and nonsuit was not granted in this case.

Henderson V Henderson

Henderson v Henderson was a case in which the English Court confirmed that a party cannot bring an argument in a subsequent suit that was previously presented. Bethel and Jordan Henderson, two brothers, formed a business partnership in 1808 and operated in both Bristol and Newfoundland. Their father passed away in 1817 on an unrecorded date. Jordan Henderson’s wife was appointed as the administrator, and she filed legal papers with the court. She also filed a separate lawsuit, alleging that he had refused to account for his position as executor of the will. The Court of Appeal determined that there was no estoppel by convention and that the proceedings were an abuse of the Henderson v Henderson code. The Court of Appeal decided that only one of Mr Johnson’s arguments for a reflective loss should be dismissed.

Devilal Modi V Sales Tax Officer

B questioned the validity of an order of assessment under Article 226 in the leading case of Devilal Modi vs. STO. The appeal was rejected on the grounds that it lacked validity. On the facts, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal against the decision. B filed a new writ petition in the same High Court, this time challenging the same assessment order. The petition was rejected by the High Court this time. The Supreme Court ruled that the appeal was barred by the res judicata principle.

Avtar Singh V Jagjit Singh

In the case of Avtar Singh v. Jagjit Singh, a peculiar problem emerged. A brought a civil suit, and B asserted a claim against the Court’s arbitration. The plaintiff’s objection was upheld, and the plaint was returned for presentation. As A approached the Revenue Court, he was informed that he didn’t have any authority, so he returned the petition. A lodged a lawsuit in the Civil Court once more. The doctrine of res judicata, according to B, barred the suit.

Mathura Prasad V Dossabhai N.B. Jeejeebhoy

In the case of Mathura Prasad v. Dossibai N.B. Jeejeebhoy, it was decided that res judicata exists between the parties to the previous case and that they cannot proceed in a subsequent case. In general, except on a point of law, a ruling by a competent court acts as res judicata. A matter of law that is unrelated to the facts that give rise to the right, on the other hand, would not serve as res judicata. The decision has already been altered by an official because the cause of action is different or the statute is different. The decision will be declared binding, and the doctrine of res judicata will not apply in subsequent proceedings.


The appeals process, which is seen as a linear continuation of the same lawsuit as it moves up (and down) the appellate court ladder, is unaffected by Res Judicata. Rather than attempting to start a new trial, appeals are thought to be the only way to contest a decision. And if the appeals process has been exhausted or waived, Res Judicata will apply until the appeals process has been exhausted or waived.

There are a few exceptions to Res Judicata that allow a party to challenge the original judgment’s validity outside of the appeals process. These exceptions, known as collateral attacks, are commonly based on procedural or jurisdictional questions, rather than the wisdom of the earlier court’s decision, and are based on the earlier court’s authority or ability to issue the decision. In judicial systems with numerous jurisdictions, such as under federal governments, or where a domestic court is ordered to follow or accept the decision of a foreign court, a collateral attack is more likely to be available (and to succeed).

In addition, cases that claim to be Res Judicata in matters of due process can be re-litigated. The establishment of a right to counsel is one example. As a matter of justice, people who have had their liberty taken away (i.e., imprisoned) will be able to retry with a psychologist.


The doctrine of Res Judicata can be described as anything that prevents any party from turning back the clock during the course of the proceedings. The scope of Res Judicata is extremely broad, and it encompasses a wide range of issues, including Public Interest Litigations. This doctrine is relevant even external the Code of Civil Procedure and covers a great deal of regions which are identified with the general public and individuals. The extension and the broaden has extended with the progression of time and the Supreme Court has prolonged the territories with its decisions.

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