2.pdf - THE F I N A L I T Y OF JUDICIAL DECISIONS I n Xoia...

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THE FINALITY OF JUDICIAL DECISIONS In Xoia Co. (Austrulia) Pt3' Ltd. v. Conzmonwealthl the High Court of Australia decided that a "judicial" can be distinguished frnm an "administrative" tribunal by the fact that judgments and decrees of judicial tribunals are final and cor~clusive (subject only to appellnte judicial review), whereas decisions of administrative tribunals are not." Distinctive of any "judicial" decision is the rule that at some stage, which is dependent upon the jurisdiction and procedure of the particu- lar tribunal and upon the particular case, the tribunal which makes it becomes Junctus officio. Even though some other tribunal may be able to review the decision on appeal or otherwise, the general rule is that the decision is final and conclusive so far as the tribunal which made it is concerned and that it cannot thereafter be reviewed by that tribunal. 7'0 every such decision there also applies the Doctrine of Res Judicata. This does not preclude the parties resorting to any avenues of judicial appellate review that may be open to them, but the rules as to 7es judica~a lay it down that, in general, if the parties either do not explore or nnsuccessfully explore those avenues, they cannot subse- auently challenge the final decision, whatever it might be, in any other proceedings n-hatsoever in any judicial tribunal at all. This is so even if a judicial tribunal should happen, in the course of some other pro- ceedings, to form an opinion that the particular earlier decision has been decided contrary to some ratio decidendi, or other rule of law, which because of the Doctrine of Stare Decisis should have been bind- ing upon both the former tribunal and the latter. ( 2 ) T H E DOCTRINE OF R E S J U D I C A T A . (i) The Nature of the Doctrine. If any judicial tribunal in the exercise of its jurisdiction delivers a judgment which is in its nature final and conclusive, the judgment is res judicuta. If in any subsequent proceedings (unless they be of an appellate nature) in the same or any other judicial tribunal, any fact or right which was determined by the earlier judgment is called in question, the defence of res judicata can be raised. This means in effect that the judgment can be pleaded by way of estoppel in the subsequent case. 1. (1944) 69 C.L.R. 185. 2. The distinction between, on the one hand, a judicial decision which is unchal- lengeable except by following prescribed avenues of judicial appellate review, and, on the other, a non-judicial decision or mere opinion, often depends for its usefulness as a practical test upon pre-knowledge as to which instrumentalities are judicial and which are not. However, this test is oftentimes circuitous in its operation. It 5 frequently possible to determine whether a decision is a " judicial decision only after it has been determined whether the instru- mentality which made it was a judicial tribunal; and vice versa.
10 The University of Queensland Law Journal If the cause of action which led to the judgment is really the same

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