I am very happy and honoured by my friend Prof. Stephen Goldstein's invitation to give my own modest contribution to the vigorous cultural life of this University, and in particular to this seminar, dedicated this year to the in-depth study of that most important subject, “res judicata”.
A final judgment represents the coat of arms of judicial activity, that which clearly separates and distinguishes this function distinctly from other functions of the State, i.e., legislative and administrative. In my view, the concept of a final judgment in a legal system, at a particular moment in history, is of unique interest in understanding the structure of that system's legal proceedings, its conception of adjudication and the ideology which inspires it.
The subject thus becomes central in the science of legal proceedings; the temptation for me to deal with it at length is very strong. I realize, though, that the usefulness of a survey of a foreign system depends on simplifying and limiting the description. That is why I have singled out one aspect of res judicata, i.e., the finality as part of a judgment, and I have chosen to deal only with recent developments in the Italian doctrine of party limits.