1. This was a suit for arrears of rent for the years 1284 and 1285 (1876-1878), the rent being admittedly payable in kind. The plaintiffs claim to recover in the proportion of nine-sixteenths of the produce; the defendants allege that the proportion is half and half.
2. It appears that there was a previous suit between the parties in respect of the rent of the years 1281 to 1283 (1874-1876). In that suit, also, they were at issue upon this point, viz., in what proportion the plaintiffs are entitled to receive the produce. The whole matter in difference in that suit was referred to arbitration, and the arbitrator submitted his award, deciding this question in favour of the plaintiffs. Certain objections were taken against the award, but the Gourt overruled them and passed judgment in accordance with it. The defendants appealed against that judgment, but failed, on the ground that the judgment being in accordance with the award was final under the law.
3. The Courts below in this case have treated the former judgment as conclusive evidence on this point, and the question raised before us is, whether it has that effect.
4. We are of opinion, that the lower Courts are right in treating the former judgment as conclusive upon this particular issue. It has been contended before us, that a judgment can be only treated as res judicata when it is the decision of a Court of competent jurisdiction; and that an arbitrator is not a court of competent jurisdiction, his jurisdiction being limited to the decision of the particular matter referred to him.
5. This argument seems to us not to be sound. It is not simply the award which has been held to be res judicata in this case, but the award followed by the judgment of the Court.
6. Section 325 of Act VIII of 1859, (the reference was under that Act) says, that if the Court shall not see cause to remit the award, &c;, &c;, the Court shall proceed to pass judgment according to the award ; and s. 185 says, that the judgment shall contain the point or points for determination, the decision thereupon, and the reasons for the decision. It is clear, therefore, that a judgment passed in accordance with s. 325 incorporates in itself the decision upon the points at issue as contained in the award. It has the same effect as an ordinary judgment of a Court. This view is supported by an authority cited at p. 17 of ' Biglow en the Law of Estoppel.' It is to the following effect :-The aioard of arbitration under a rule of Court, if final and valid, is also conclusive upon the parties. The case first cited-Lloyd v. Barr (11 Pen. St. 41)-was an action on a note against a prior by a subsequent indorser, who had paid a judgment given by arbitrators in an action by the holder against all the indorsers ; and as no technical issue had been framed, it was contended that the judgment was not an estoppel to the present defendants to deny demand and notice. But the Court ruled otherwise.
7. It has been also urged that the question of proportion was incidentally tried in the former suit. But we are unable to take this view. It appears to us, that the point arose directly in that case as it also arises directly here.
8. The decision of the dower Courts is, therefore, correct. The appeal is dismissed with costs.