Difference between res judicata and principle of estoppel?

Retired employee.

Please search google for a detailed explanation with case laws.

In simple "Res judicata" is that a judgment was delivered already in the same issue already and there is no scope for further litigation on that issue.

The doctrine of estoppel is when there is a duty to speak or deny or the other party maintaining silence at an appropriate time in the issue, can not later deny or dispute on such facts.

Please remember this is only a general understanding for a common man, and both the issues are complicated with several exemptions and applications limited to a particular fact.

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respected sir

The point of origination of res judicata is a judgement in a former suit by the court whereas the estoppel is originated by the act of the parties themselves. The reason for the development of the doctrine of res judicata is for the public policy, which means an end to litigation, while the estoppel is rather based on the principles of equity, which means it bars the multiplicity of representations. On the other hand res judicata bars the multiplicity of suits.

Authoritatively, res judicata is a bar on the jurisdiction of a court, and is a basic test to institute a suit whereas, as mentioned before, estoppel is only a doctrine observed in evidence and disables the parties to speak further. In the lines of prohibitory values of both, both doctrines in one way or the other prohibits something, for which the res judicata prohibits a man averring the same thing in successive litigations whereas estoppel prevents a person from saying one thing which he has said before and consequences have arrived thereafter. And the last point of difference between both doctrines is the binding nature that can be showed by observing the doctrines in general. In res judicata, both the parties are subject to the application of res judicata since both has approached a subsequent court for the same matter to be adjudicated upon therefore its binding effect is on both the litigants. On the other hand, in case of estoppel, occurrence of a binding effect is only on the party who had made the previous statement or conduct through which the course of litigants have changed and thereby only that person will have to suffer the binding force.


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Hello, Greetings of the day,

In simple words,  Estoppel is that standard which disallows an individual from repudiating what was before said by him in the court of law.

On the other hand,  Res judicata is that standard which disallows different courts from settling on a similar matter, between similar gatherings which has effectively been chosen by a competent court.

Hope it helps


Sneha Jaiswal




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