Judgment

Judgment

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A judgment in a legal context, is synonymous with the formal decision made by a court
Court
A court is a form of tribunal, often a governmental institution, with the authority to adjudicate legal disputes between parties and carry out the administration of justice in civil, criminal, and administrative matters in accordance with the rule of law...

 following a lawsuit
Lawsuit
A lawsuit or "suit in law" is a civil action brought in a court of law in which a plaintiff, a party who claims to have incurred loss as a result of a defendant's actions, demands a legal or equitable remedy. The defendant is required to respond to the plaintiff's complaint...

. At the same time the court may also make a range of court order
Court order
A court order is an official proclamation by a judge that defines the legal relationships between the parties to a hearing, a trial, an appeal or other court proceedings. Such ruling requires or authorizes the carrying out of certain steps by one or more parties to a case...

s, such as imposing a sentence
Sentence (law)
In law, a sentence forms the final explicit act of a judge-ruled process, and also the symbolic principal act connected to his function. The sentence can generally involve a decree of imprisonment, a fine and/or other punishments against a defendant convicted of a crime...

 upon a guilt
Guilt (law)
In criminal law, guilt is entirely externally defined by the state, or more generally a “court of law.” Being “guilty” of a criminal offense means that one has committed a violation of criminal law, or performed all the elements of the offense set out by a criminal statute...

y defendant
Defendant
A defendant or defender is any party who is required to answer the complaint of a plaintiff or pursuer in a civil lawsuit before a court, or any party who has been formally charged or accused of violating a criminal statute...

 in a criminal
Criminal law
Criminal law, is the body of law that relates to crime. It might be defined as the body of rules that defines conduct that is not allowed because it is held to threaten, harm or endanger the safety and welfare of people, and that sets out the punishment to be imposed on people who do not obey...

 matter, or providing a remedy
Legal remedy
A legal remedy is the means with which a court of law, usually in the exercise of civil law jurisdiction, enforces a right, imposes a penalty, or makes some other court order to impose its will....

 for the plaintiff
Plaintiff
A plaintiff , also known as a claimant or complainant, is the term used in some jurisdictions for the party who initiates a lawsuit before a court...

 in a civil
Civil law (common law)
Civil law, as opposed to criminal law, is the branch of law dealing with disputes between individuals or organizations, in which compensation may be awarded to the victim...

 matter.

In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, under the rules of civil procedure
Civil procedure
Civil procedure is the body of law that sets out the rules and standards that courts follow when adjudicating civil lawsuits...

 governing practice in federal courts and most state courts, the entry of judgment is the final order entered by the court in the case, leaving no further action to be taken by the court with respect to the issues contested by the parties to the lawsuit. With certain exceptions, only a final judgment is subject to appeal
Appeal
An appeal is a petition for review of a case that has been decided by a court of law. The petition is made to a higher court for the purpose of overturning the lower court's decision....

.

In some legal systems (particularly civil law
Civil law (legal system)
Civil law is a legal system inspired by Roman law and whose primary feature is that laws are codified into collections, as compared to common law systems that gives great precedential weight to common law on the principle that it is unfair to treat similar facts differently on different...

 jurisdictions), a judgment is not considered final until after appeals have been exhausted or waived.

Types

  • Consent decree
    Consent decree
    A consent decree is a final, binding judicial decree or judgment memorializing a voluntary agreement between parties to a suit in return for withdrawal of a criminal charge or an end to a civil litigation...

    , a final, binding judgment in a case in which both parties agree, by agreement, to a particular outcome
  • Declaratory judgment
    Declaratory judgment
    A declaratory judgment is a judgment of a court in a civil case which declares the rights, duties, or obligations of one or more parties in a dispute. A declaratory judgment is legally binding, but it does not order any action by a party. In this way, the declaratory judgment is like an action to...

    , a judgment of a court in a civil case which declares the rights, duties, or obligations of each party in a dispute
  • Default judgment
    Default judgment
    Default judgment is a binding judgment in favor of either party based on some failure to take action by the other party. Most often, it is a judgment in favor of a plaintiff when the defendant has not responded to a summons or has failed to appear before a court of law...

    , a binding judgment in favor of the plaintiff when the defendant has not responded to a summons
  • Summary judgment
    Summary judgment
    In law, a summary judgment is a determination made by a court without a full trial. Such a judgment may be issued as to the merits of an entire case, or of specific issues in that case....

    , a legal term which means that a court has made a determination without a full trial
  • Vacated judgment
    Vacated judgment
    A vacated judgment makes a previous legal judgment legally void. A vacated judgment is usually the result of the judgment of an appellate court which overturns, reverses, or sets aside the judgment of a lower court....

    , the result of the judgment of an appellate court which overturns, reverses, or sets aside the judgment of a lower court

Reserved judgment


A judge will sometimes, having heard both sides of the argument, refrain from making an immediate decision and retire to consider the case further. The judge will announce that they are to 'reserve' their judgment until a later time. This is sometimes annotated in law reports by the Latin phrase "Cur. adv. vult." or "c.a.v." (Curia advisari vult
Curia advisari vult
Curia advisari vult is a Latin legal term meaning "the court wishes to consider the matter" , a term reserving judgment until some subsequent day. It often appears in case reports, abbreviated as "Cur. adv...

).

Release of judgment


In some jurisdictions, full payment of a monetary judgment entitles the judgment debtor to receive from the judgment creditor, upon request, a document called a "satisfaction and release of judgment", whereby the judgment debtor may have the original judgment vacated
Vacated judgment
A vacated judgment makes a previous legal judgment legally void. A vacated judgment is usually the result of the judgment of an appellate court which overturns, reverses, or sets aside the judgment of a lower court....

, the action dismissed, any lien removed, and the damaging record expunged from the judgment debtor's public records
Public records
Public records are documents or pieces of information that are not considered confidential. For example, in California, when a couple fills out a marriage license application, they have the option of checking the box as to whether the marriage is "confidential" or "Public"...

 and credit history
Credit history
Credit history or credit report is, in many countries, a record of an individual's or company's past borrowing and repaying, including information about late payments and bankruptcy...

. An example of this is in Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

 state law, cf. 735 ILCS 5/12-183.

Spelling


In a non-legal context, spelling differs between countries. The spelling judgement (with e added) is common in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 in a non-legal context. The spelling judgment without the e is however often listed first and in any case without comment or regional restriction in major UK dictionaries. In British English, the spelling judgment is correct when referring to a court's or judge's formal ruling, whereas the spelling judgement is used for other meanings. In American English, judgment prevails in all contexts. In Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, in a non-legal context both forms are equally acceptable, although judgment is more common in Canada and judgement in Australia. However, in a legal and theological context, judgment is the only correct form. In New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 the form judgment is the preferred spelling in dictionaries, newspapers and legislation, although the variant judgement can also be found in all three categories. Usage in South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

 is similar to that in Australia.
The spelling judgment is also found in the Authorized King James Version of the Bible.