Confession of Judgment

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Acronyms, Wikipedia.

Confession of Judgment

A procedure whereby a defendant did not enter a plea, the usual response to a plaintiff's declaration in Common-Law Pleading, but instead either confessed to the accuracy of the plaintiff's claim or withdrew a plea already entered.

The result of a confession of judgment was that judgment was entered for the plaintiff on the confession alone without further proceedings being required.

A confession of judgment could also be accomplished if the plaintiff offered a cognovit actionem, a written confession made out earlier by the defendant. A creditor could demand that a borrower sign a cognovit note when the debtor first became indebted to the creditor. The cognovit note said in writing that the debtor owed a particular sum and voluntarily submitted himself or herself to the authority of the court. If the debtor later fell into arrears, the creditor could obtain a judgment against the debtor without even bothering to notify the debtor of the proceedings. A warrant of attorney served the same purpose as a cognovit note. The unfairness of the procedure has prompted most states to enact laws making agreements for the confession of judgment void.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

confession of judgment

n. a written agreement in which the defendant in a lawsuit admits liability and accepts the amount of agreed-upon damages he/she must pay to plaintiff (person suing him/her), and agrees that the statement may be filed as a court judgment against him/her if he/she does not pay or perform as agreed. This avoids further legal proceedings and may prevent a legal judgment being entered (made) if the terms are fulfilled by defendant.

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Given the ability of a creditor to essentially avoid the court system through a confession of judgment provision, they are undoubtedly a remedy that should be explored by anyone entering into a settlement agreement.
Given the complexities and risks inherent in confession of judgment provisions, it is strongly encouraged that any creditor seeking to utilize them engages the services of experienced creditors' rights counsel before doing so.
The debt-recording interpretation of the colonial court system proposes that creditors maximized returns by gaining security through a debtors' confession of judgment or a default judgment immediately after extending the debt.
Subsection 2 presents data describing the timing of debt litigation in Plymouth in cases ending in defaults and confession of judgment more broadly.
Table 4 suggests that the debt-recording interpretation of confession of judgment cases in the county courts is not fully explanatory.
We suggest you consider the following issues in determining whether to request that the customer execute a Confession of Judgment:
Even if the jurisdiction permits Confessions of Judgment generally, it may not permit a Confession of Judgment for the type of transaction in which you are involved.
A Confession of Judgment enables a creditor to have its debtor "confess" an amount due to the creditor before a lawsuit is filed, and thereby allows the creditor to obtain judgment with little delay or cost in the event the debtor does not perform.