Judgments Law and Legal Definition
A judgment is the final decision by a court in a lawsuit, criminal prosecution or appeal from a lower court's judgment. This is distinguished from an "interlocutory judgment," which is only valid until a final judgment is made. It is a court’s final decision regarding the rights and obligations of the parties to a case. A judgment is also referred to as a decree.
There are certain legal requirements for the validity of a judicial judgment. It must be made by a competent judge or court at a time and place appointed by law and in the form it requires. For example, if the judge does not have jurisdiction of the matter, or does not hold a required hearing or present the required opportunity for a party to be heard, then any judgment rendered may be overturned. The judgment must confine itself to the question raised before the court and cannot extend beyond it. If the judgment is appealed, the appellate court generally reviews the law applied by the lower court, and will not disturb the factual findings.
The person who obtains a civil judgment for money is called a judgment creditor and the person who owes money on the judgment is called the judgment debtor. If the judgment debtor fails to pay the judgment, the judgment creditor may file a judgment lien and have the judgment debtor's assets sold to pay off the judgment. Local laws on procedures used to collect unpaid vary, so laws in your area should be consulted for specific requirements.