Entry of Judgment Law and Legal Definition

Entry of judgment happens when a court judgment is written into the official court records by the court clerk or when it is filed with the appropriate official. The date of entry of judgment is important because usually the time period for filing the paper indicating the intent to appeal is calculated from the date of entry of judgment. Likewise some states require that an individual has to wait for a certain period of time after entry of judgment of divorce before remarrying.

Example of a State Statute on Entry of Judgment

In Ohio, When an announcement of the court's decision is written into the official court records by the court clerk, the entry of the Judgment is made. Such announced decisions shall be journalized within 30 days as required by the Ohio Rule of Civil Procedure 58 and will become the judgment and order of the court.

Ohio Civ. R. 58 reads as follows:

Rule 58. Entry of judgment

(A) Preparation; entry; effect.

Subject to the provisions of Rule 54(B), upon a general verdict of a jury, upon a decision announced, or upon the determination of a periodic payment plan, the court shall promptly cause the judgment to be prepared and, the court having signed it, the clerk shall thereupon enter it upon the journal. A judgment is effective only when entered by the clerk upon the journal.

(B) Notice of filing.

When the court signs a judgment, the court shall endorse thereon a direction to the clerk to serve upon all parties not in default for failure to appear notice of the judgment and its date of entry upon the journal. Within three days of entering the judgment upon the journal, the clerk shall serve the parties in a manner prescribed by Civ. R. 5(B) and note the service in the appearance docket. Upon serving the notice and notation of the service in the appearance docket, the service is complete. The failure of the clerk to serve notice does not affect the validity of the judgment or the running of the time for appeal except as provided in App. R. 4(A).


Rule 58 has been amended to provide that "A judgment is effective only when filed with the clerk for journalization."

In effect, Rule 58, before the amendment, provided for the same time for the effective date of a judgment, but in slightly different language. Apparently the language caused some confusion. The amendment simplifies the language governing the effective date of the judgment.

The effective date of a judgment is extremely important for one reason among others because appeal time runs from the entry of a judgment or final order. (Rule 54 defines a judgment as including a "decree" "or any order from which an appeal lies.")

It should be noted in passing that selecting a day certain for the effective date of a judgment is somewhat troublesome. The effective date could be when the judge signs the judgment. Or when the signed judgment is filed with clerk. Or when the clerk journalizes the judgment. Or when the parties are notified of the judgment. The least troublesome effective date is the date selected by the rule, i.e., "A judgment is effective only when filed with the clerk for journalization." When the judgment is filed, the clerk should stamp it immediately and journalize it promptly. It should also be noted that the rule is silent as to how a party shall be notified of the entry of judgment. The notification problem remains a matter for local practice.