Ch.1.6. Judgment in Rem (Sn.41):
(i) A judgment in rem, is conclusive not only against the parties, but also against all the world (Norton). The judgment must been given upon the status of some particular subject matter and it must be by a competent court. Any person who is affected by the decision may appear and assert his own rights by becoming an actual party to the proceedings.
The leading case in Kanhya Vs. Radha, where Peacock J. laiddown this rule.
A judgment in rem of a Competent Court which is exercising its jurisdiction in probate, Martimonial, Admiralty or Insolvency is binding on all persons, whether parties or privies or strangers. It is a conclusive proof of the legal character.
(ii) The legal character is the one that the judgment in rem confers, takes away or declares, in it’s judgment. It may declare the property rights of any person. It is conclusive in regard to the martial status of parties, insolvency, probate and admiralty. Eg. Decree of divorce, of granting probate of status in insolvency etc.
Testator T dies leaving a will, with E as his executor. A,B,C & D dispute the will. The probate court decides that the will is genuine, it grants probate to E. This is binding on A,B,C, & D, and, also on all persons in the world. It is conclusive.
(iii) It may be impeached by proving: That the court,had no jurisdiction.
That the judgment was obtained by fraud. That it was not given on merits.
That it was not final,
iv) Judgment in Personam:
This is the judgment of the court binding on the parties to the case only or their legal representatives, on the matters decided by the court. Judgments in Contracts, Torts, etc., fall to this category.
Such judgments are not a bar between strangers or between a party to the judgment and a stranger. There is one exception. When the judgment relates to a matterof Public nature, it may be relevant.
A sues B for trespass on his land. B alleges that there was a public right of way. A denies. In a previous suit between Aand C there was a decree in favor of C for public right of way on the same land. Such a decree, is relevant but not conclusive.
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