What is a judgment?

A judgment is a decision from a judge on a civil action or lawsuit. Usually a person is required to pay an amount of money to satisfy a debt or a penalty.

Deeper definition

Judgment is a concept that has a lot of meanings, in and out of the business world. Consider the following definitions for the word:

  1. The act of judging.
  2. One’s ability to make judgments or decisions or to form opinions in an objective fashion with authority and wisdom, particularly regarding issues of discretion and good sense.
  3. Demonstrating the capacity to exercise judgment.
  4. Forming an opinion or conclusion about information as circumstances and explanations come into focus.
  5. An opinion or conclusion formed as a result.
  6. Two legal references:
    1. Judicial decisions delivered by a court or judge.
    2. Obligations — sometimes called “damages” — due as a result of such a court decision.
  7. Negative consequence as delivered by a divine power.

From legal to religious connotations, judgment is a word that covers a range of concepts relating to breaking a law or expectation of some sort. Usually judgment, particularly in a legal sense, implies some type of debt owed or reparation required to restore your standing in a relationship or in society as a whole.

In civil cases, judgment clarifies the rights and claims of the individual parties in dispute. For criminal cases, judgment designates guilt (or absolution) and a sentence for the convicted defendant.

Judgment example

If you take a shop owner to court over a case where you slipped on a spilled container of grapes in the store and broke your leg, the judge’s final decision in that case is the judgment.

Should the shop owner be found negligent in the shop maintenance that led to your injury, the damages that he or she owes you would be considered part of that judgment.

Alternatively, if the shop owner were found not responsible, the declaration of his or her innocence would be the judgment. The final ruling of the judge, no matter which way it goes, is the judgment.

How does judgment impact your credit score? Learn more here.

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