JUDGMENT, in law, a term used to describe (i) the adjudication by a court of justice upon a controversy submitted to it inter paries (post litem contestatam) and determining the rights of the parties and the relief to be awarded by the court as between them; (2) the formal document issuing from the court in which that adjudication is expressed; (3) the opinions of the judges expressed in a review of the facts and law applicable to the controversy leading up to the adjudication expressed in the formal document. When the judgment has been passed and entered and recorded it binds the parties: the controversy comes to an end (transit in rem judicatam), and the person in whose favour the judgment is entered is entitled to enforce it by the appropriate method of " execution." There has been much controversy among lawyers as to the meaning of the expressions " final " and " interlocutory " as applied to judgments, and as to the distinction between a " judgment," a " decree," and an " order." These disputes arise upon the wording of statutes or rules of court and with reference to the appropriate times or modes of appeal f or of execution.
The judgments of one country are not as a rule directly enforceable in another country. In Europe, by treaty or arrangement, foreign judgments are in certain cases and on compliance with certain formalities made executory in various states. A similar provision is made as between England, Scotland and Ireland, for the registry and execution in each country of certain classes of judgments given in the others. But as regards the rest of the king's dominions and foreign states, a " foreign " judgment is in England recognized only as constituting a cause of action which may be sued upon in England. If given by a court of competent jurisdiction it is treated as creating a legal obligation to pay the sum adjudged to be due. Summary judgment may be entered in an English action based on a foreign judgment unless the defendant can show that the foreign court had not jurisdiction over the parties or the subject matter of the action, or that there was fraud on the part of the foreign court or the successful party, or that the foreign proceedings were contrary to natural justice, e.g. concluded without due notice to the parties affected. English courts will not enforce foreign judgments as to foreign criminal or penal or revenue laws.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)