The following Dispute Resolution practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
A res judicata is a decision given by a judge or tribunal with jurisdiction over the cause of action and the parties, which disposes, with finality, of a matter decided so that it cannot be re-litigated by those bound by the judgment, except on appeal.
Final judgments by default or consent are included within this definition, but not decisions on procedural grounds and decisions which are not final in any sense.
The purpose of the doctrine is to provide finality to litigation and to protect parties from being vexed by the same matter twice.
in personam—binds the parties and their privies
in rem—binds anyone, privy or otherwise (ie it is a judgment which binds 'the whole world')
A party may wish to set up a res judicata:
as an estoppel against their opponent’s claim or defence; and/or
as the foundation of their own claim or defence
For guidance on the key requirements for establishing a res judicata, see Practice Note: Key requirements to establish a res judicata.
In Virgin Atlantic, Lord Sumption identified six general principles that fall within the doctrine of res judicata, they are:
cause of action estoppel—this precludes a party from bringing a cause of action in a second case that involves the same subject matter and is identical to a cause of action
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