Bar by prior judgment v. conclusiveness of judgment


QUESTION: Distinguish bar by prior judgment from conclusiveness of judgment.

ANSWER: In actuality, "bar by prior judgment" is a general term. It has two kinds: res judicata and bar on re-litigation of an issue. Most textbooks refer to "res judicata" as "bar by prior judgment."

"Conclusiveness of judgment," on the other hand," is a term used to refer to the bar on re-litigation of an issue or issues.

Bar by prior judgment is the doctrine of res judicata which bars a second action when there is identity of parties, subject matter and cause of action. This means that a judgment has already been rendered by a court or tribunal of competent authority and, subsequently, an action or petition involving the same parties, subject matter and cause of action is filed in court. In such a case, the remedy is to file a motion to dismiss on the ground of res judicata (meaning "the thing has already been adjudicated").

On the other hand, conclusiveness of judgment precludes the re-litigation of a particular issue in another action between the same parties on a different cause of action. This means that an issue has already been passed upon by a court of competent authority and such judgment on such issue has already attained finality. Any subsequent or pending action or petition that involves that same issue must respect the judgment on the same. In other words, an issue already settled cannot be open to question in court anymore.

PERTINENT RULE: The effect of a judgment or final order rendered by a court of the Philippines, having jurisdiction to pronounce the judgment or final order, may be as follows:
In case of a judgment or final order against a specific thing, or in respect to the probate of a will, or the administration of the estate of a deceased person, or in respect to the personal, political, or legal condition or status of a particular person or his relationship to another, the judgment or final order is conclusive upon the title to the thing, the will or administration or the condition, status or relationship of the person, however, the probate of a will or granting of letters of administration shall only be prima facie evidence of the death of the testator or intestate;

In other cases, the judgment or final order is, with respect to the matter directly adjudged or as to any other matter that could have been missed in relation thereto, conclusive between the parties and their successors in interest, by title subsequent to the commencement of the action or special proceeding, litigating for the same thing and under the same title and in the same capacity; and

In any other litigation between the same parties or their successors in interest, that only is deemed to have been adjudged in a former judgment or final order which appears upon its face to have been so adjudged, or which was actually and necessarily included therein or necessary thereto. (Section 47 of Rule 39 of the Rules of Court)

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