Confession of Judgment

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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.

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.

References in periodicals archive ?
One question that sometimes arises is who can sign the confession of judgment.
The court stated "it would not be hyperbolic to term [this defense] frivolous," (8) finding that the note at issue specifically allowed the plaintiff to designate "any attorney" to confess judgment and that Illinois courts have squarely held that the confession of judgment by an attorney of the same firm as plaintiff's counsel does not invalidate the judgment.
38) Conclusion of the case led to additional charges, whether for the trial, for default or confession of judgment (six pence to the judges, six pence to the clerk for recording the outcome), or for imprisonment of the debtor (two shillings and six pence for "turning the key on each prisoner committed").
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.