Legal Thesaurus

Judgment in rem

A judgment in rem has been defined in English law as “an adjudication upon the status of some particular subject-matter by a tribunal having competent authority for that purpose” [2 Smith, L.C. 666, 13th E.]; but the definition is open to several objections. The Evidence Act, therefore, avoids this difficulty by omitting to use this expression and attempts to reproduce the English law on the subject by enumerating the classes of tribunals whose judgments are conclusive, and the matters on which they are conclusive. If a judgment is passed by a Court in the exercise of its probate, matrimonial, admiralty, or insolvency jurisdiction and the judgment confers upon, or takes away from, any person any legal character, or declares any person to be entitled to any such character, it is conclusive proof of the conferment, declaration or taking away of that legal character. If any such judgment declares any person to be entitled to any specific thing, not as against any specified person but absolutely, the judgment is conclusive proof of the fact that the thing was the property of the person at the time from which the judgment declares that it had been or should be his property. When a judgment is given in evidence against a party, he may show that the judgment was passed by a Court not competent to pass, it or that it was obtained by fraud or collusion.

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