Res Judicata Definition and Legal Meaning
On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Res Judicata, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.
What is Res Judicata?
(n) Res judicate is used to represent a legal case, proceedings, petitions etc, which has been undergone legal process and a judicial order is already issued on the same matter
History and Meaning of Res Judicata
Res Judicata is a Latin term that means "a thing adjudicated". It is a legal principle that refers to a case or dispute that has been resolved by a final judgment and cannot be brought back to court for a second trial or a new appeal. The doctrine of res judicata is based on the policy of preventing endless and harassing litigation, and preserving the peace and stability of judgments.
The concept of res judicata can be traced back to Roman law, and has been adopted by many legal systems around the world. Under common law, res judicata has two branches: claim preclusion (also known as "estoppel by judgment"), which bars a party from bringing a new suit on the same cause of action or claim that has already been litigated; and issue preclusion (also known as "collateral estoppel"), which precludes relitigating issues that were actually litigated and determined in a prior suit between the same parties or their privies.
Examples of Res Judicata
Mary sues John for breach of contract and wins a judgment. John cannot sue Mary on the same contract again, even if he thinks that he has new evidence or a new theory of the case.
A worker files a claim for workers' compensation benefits against their employer, the claim is denied, and a final judgment is entered in favor of the employer. The worker cannot file a new claim for the same injury, even if they obtain new medical evidence or a new opinion on causation.
A defendant is acquitted of a criminal charge of assault in a trial by jury. The prosecution cannot retry the defendant for the same charge, even if new witnesses or evidence come to light.
Legal Terms Similar to Res Judicata
- Collateral Estoppel: A doctrine that bars relitigating issues that were actually litigated and determined in a prior suit between the same parties or their privies.
- Claim Preclusion: A doctrine that bars a party from bringing a new suit on the same cause of action or claim that has already been litigated.
- Double Jeopardy: A constitutional principle that prohibits trying a person twice for the same offense after acquittal or conviction.