Res Subjudice and Res Judicata

To ensure judicial efficiency and to ensure that a productive pace of getting justice in the court is achieved and maintained, various doctrines/ principles have been laid down. Two of these principles are Res Sub Judice and Res judicata. 

Res Sub Judice is a Latin word that means "under judgment" similarly, Res judicata means "a matter that has been judged."

Res Judicata and Res Sub Judice: Two principles that attempt to streamline workload on Courts – Understand distinctions and similarities between both.

In Res Sub Judice, if two or more cases are initiated between the same parties on the same subject matter; in two or more different Courts, the competent court has the power to "stay proceedings" before another Court. The doctrine of res Sub Judice goals serves to prevent courts of concurrent jurisdiction from simultaneously entertaining and adjudicating upon two parallel litigations concerning the exact cause of action, same subject matter, and same relief claimed.

In Res Judicata, a matter once decided cannot be raised again, either in the same court or in a different court. This is why it is also called a 'claim preclusion' as it precludes or prohibits any further claims after the final judgment. It is a common-law practice meant to bar re-litigation of cases between the same parties in the court.

Res Sub Judice doctrine is mentioned in section 10 of the Civil Procedure Code, which provides when and how it can apply. Meanwhile, the doctrine of Res Judicata mentions in section 11 of the Civil Procedure Code, including eight explanations that provide when and how it can be applied.

Res Sub Judice permits stay of proceedings of all but one parallel suits between the same parties. This means that if two competent courts try the same suit on the same issue, the subsequent court(s) can stay the trial to prevent the multiplicity of proceedings and waste of court’s time. On the other hand, Res Judicata forbids a second trial for the same dispute between the same parties.

In Res Sub Judice, the previously instituted suit must be pending in the same court or in any competent court having jurisdiction, while in Res Judicata, the previously instituted suit must be decided by the competent court in which the issue has been raised.

Res Sub Judice applies to the only suit, including appeal. Res Judicata applies to suit and applications.

Similarities Between Res Sub Judice and Res Judicata. 

In Res Sub Judice, the matter in issue in both suits must be substantially the same. The same is the case for Res Judicata.

In Res Sub Judice, both suits must be between the same parties or the representatives of these parties litigating under the same title. The same is with Res Judicata.


Shraddha Saxena
Shraddha Saxena

Law Student, Legal Intern at Law Gyani

Shraddha is a law student and the founder of Vidhik Sahara. She usually writes on prominent socio-legal issues.

Rajesh Haldipur
Rajesh Haldipur

Founder, Law Gyani

Rajesh is a qualified CA & CWA. He has served as a Director of PricewaterhouseCoopers, a Director of a large urban co-operative bank and Dean of a B-School over the years. He has taught Finance for over 20 years & trained participants from several Companies and B-Schools. He is an educator and a learner (he believes both are inextricably intertwined), and a knowledge product developer. Law Gyani, which he has founded to help Law Students with their exam preparations, and to understand nuances of the law.


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