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Res judicata

Res judicata is a legal principle that originates from Latin, meaning “a matter judged.” It means that if a competent court has already made a final decision on a matter, it cannot be re-litigated between the same parties. In simpler terms, once a court has given its final verdict on a particular issue, that same issue cannot be re-litigated between the same parties in future proceedings.

The doctrine of “res judicata” is meant to prevent parties from endlessly litigating the same issue and to promote finality and certainty in legal proceedings. There are generally three elements that must be met for res judicata to apply: a final judgment must have been rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction, the parties involved in the subsequent litigation must be the same as, or in privity with, those in the earlier case, and the subsequent litigation must involve the same cause of action that was raised or could have been raised, in the earlier case.

Res judicata is a fundamental principle of judicial efficiency and fairness, ensuring that once a dispute has been resolved, it remains settled.

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