Confession of judgment

Confession of judgment is a legal term that refers to a type of contract (or a clause with such a provision) in which a party agrees to let the other party enter a judgment against him or her. Such contracts are highly controversial and may be invalidated as a violation of due process by courts, since the obligor is essentially contracting away his right to raise any legitimate defenses.[1]

Confessions of judgment are permitted in many states. New Jersey[2] and Pennsylvania[3] permit them, among others. Some states, including Michigan,[4] require they be specially labelled or have other procedural requirements. However, according to testimony before an Alaska State Legislature committee, "Confession of Judgment is illegal in Alaska, it's illegal in Pennsylvania in consumer transactions, but not in commercial transactions."[5] A Law Review article distinguishes three groups of state laws, one group comprising seventeen states that make void any agreement to confess judgment entered into before commencement of a suit.[6]

A typical confession of judgment reads, "The undersigned irrevocably authorizes any attorney to appear in any court of competent jurisdiction and confess a judgment without process in favor of the creditor for such amount as may then appear unpaid hereon, and to consent to immediate execution upon such judgment."

Such clauses should be distinguished from liquidated damages clauses, which do not result in binding judgments against the obligor.

A confession of judgment may also be called a cognovit note.[7]

See also


  1. ^ Isbell v. County of Sonoma, 21 Cal. 3d 61, 65 (1978).
  3. ^ Pa.R.C.P. 2950, et seq.
  4. ^ M.C.L. 600.2906
  5. ^ Committee Minutes, HB 97 – Purchase of Structured Settlements, Number 2364, testimony after 1998 by Randy Dyer, Executive Vice President, National Structured Settlement Association.
  6. ^ "Confession of Judgment". University of Pennsylvania Law Review 102 (4): 524–538. February 1954. 
  7. ^ Gilbert Pocket Size Law Dictionary, "confession of judgment", 57.

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • confession of judgment — confession of judgment: acknowledgment by a debtor of a claim and consent that a judgment may be entered usu. without notice or hearing for the amount of the claim when it is due and unpaid compare cognovit note at note Merriam Webster’s… …   Law dictionary

  • confession of judgment — A written authorization by the debtor to allow the creditor or the creditor s attorney to enter a money judgment against the debtor if the obligation in the promissory note signed by the debtor is not paid when due. (Bernstein s Dictionary of… …   Glossary of Bankruptcy

  • Confession Of Judgment — A written agreement signed by the defendant that accepts the liability and amount of damages that was agreed on. A confession of judgment is a way to circumvent normal court proceedings and avoid a lengthy legal process to resolve a dispute.… …   Investment dictionary

  • confession of judgment — noun a judgment entered after a written confession by the debtor without the expense of ordinary legal proceedings • Syn: ↑confession of judgement, ↑cognovit judgment, ↑cognovit judgement • Topics: ↑law, ↑jurisprudence • Hypernyms …   Useful english dictionary

  • confession of judgment — The entry of a judgment upon the admission or confession of the debtor, without the formality, time, or extent involved in all ordinary action or proceeding. Cuikendall v Doe, 129 Iowa 453, 105 NW 698. See cognovit actionem; cognovit note;… …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • confession — con·fes·sion n 1: an act of confessing 2: an acknowledgment of a fact or allegation as true or proven; esp: a written or oral statement by an accused party acknowledging the party s guilt (as by admitting commission of a crime) compare admission; …   Law dictionary

  • judgment — judg·ment also judge·ment / jəj mənt/ n 1 a: a formal decision or determination on a matter or case by a court; esp: final judgment in this entry compare dictum, disposition …   Law dictionary

  • Confession of error — is a legal practice whereby the United States Solicitor General in his or her role representing the federal government before the Supreme Court of the United States admits a lower court incorrectly decided a case and it is thereby sent back for… …   Wikipedia

  • confession relicta verificatione — Confession of judgment after pleading and before trial, the defendant confessing the plaintiff s cause of action and withdrawing or abandoning his defense or other procedures taken by him. 30A Am J Rev ed Judgm § 156 …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • judgment — A sense of knowledge sufficient to comprehend nature of transaction. Thomas v. Young, 57 App. D.C. 282, 22 F.2d 588, 590. An opinion or estimate. McClung Const. Co. v. Muncy, Tex.Civ.App., 65 S.W.2d 786, 790. The formation of an opinion or notion …   Black's law dictionary

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