Latin Legal Terms: Res Judicata

Res judicata is a Latin term that means "a matter judged" or “a matter decided.” It is a legal doctrine that prevents parties from re-litigating issues

that have already been decided by a court. The purpose of res judicata is to promote the finality of judgments, conserve judicial resources, and prevent the harassment of parties through multiple lawsuits on the same issue.


Res judicata, also known as claim preclusion, refers to the principle that a final judgment on the merits of a claim bars further litigation between the same parties or their privies on the same claim. Once a claim has been fully and fairly litigated to a final judgment, it generally cannot be raised again in a subsequent lawsuit. This prevents parties from trying to relitigate the same issue over and over again. This doctrine is similar to the Collateral Estoppel doctrine, which prohibits re-litigation of previously decided issues in certain circumstances.