Difference Between Judgement and Verdict

Judgement vs Verdict

Difference between judgement and verdict, though it is distinct, may not be that easy to explain to someone else. When talking about differences, have you ever thought that there is nothing more frustrating than trying to distinguish the difference between the terms that we think we know quite well? It is true actually. The terms Judgement and Verdict represent one such instance. We have often heard their usage in the legal field, assuming that they mean one and the same thing. However, there is a clear distinction between them and it is best to understand and identify this difference by examining the definitions of both terms.

What is a Verdict?

A Verdict is popularly known as the outcome in a criminal case, particularly the point at which the defendant is either found guilty or not guilty of the crime. Traditionally, however, it is defined as the formal decision or finding made by a jury concerning the questions submitted to it during a trial. Thus, a decision made by a judge does not constitute a Verdict. In law, a Verdict refers to the decision of the jury and not the decision of a judge or the court. This is because a Verdict typically constitutes a finding based on an examination of issues of facts pertaining to the case. Generally, a jury is tasked with hearing the evidence and arguments of both parties in a legal action, determining questions of facts and applying the relevant law to those facts, and finally, reaching a decision. The Verdict of a jury is not only present in criminal trials but also in civil trials wherein the jury reaches a decision either in favour of the plaintiff or the defendant. Keep in mind that there are different types of Verdicts such as a Partial Verdict, Special Verdict, General Verdict, or Quotient Verdict . In addition, while most Verdicts given by a jury are upheld, the judge is empowered to set aside such Verdicts in certain instances.

Difference Between Judgement and Verdict

The Jury presents the verdict

What is a Judgement?

The term Judgement is defined as a decision by a court of law or another tribunal that resolves all contested issues on the action before it and determines the rights and obligations of the parties. In a criminal action, it constitutes the final decision of the court and includes the Verdict and the sentence imposed. Thus, unlike a Verdict, a decision made by a judge constitutes a Judgement. A Judgement typically signals the end of a legal action between parties. Some sources refer to it as the court’s formal pronouncement of the law pertaining to the legal dispute before it. In a civil trial, a Judgement generally determines if the plaintiff is entitled to compensation, injunctive relief and/or other civil remedies. Further, a Judgement is not necessarily limited to the above examples. The court can deliver a Judgement in relation to a case where one party does not respond or does not appear in court. In such an instance, the court will decide in favour of the plaintiff by default, also known as a Default Judgement. Other forms of Judgements include Declaratory Judgements and Summary Judgements.

 Judgement vs Verdict

Judges present the judgement of a case

What is the difference between Judgement and Verdict?

• A Verdict is the decision made by a jury. It is a finding based on an examination of questions of facts pertaining to the case.

• A Judgement is a decision made by a judge or a court of law. It is a decision that includes the resolution of both questions of fact and law.

• A Verdict does not conclude the trial completely. It is rather an important process that takes place prior to the final pronouncement by court.

• A Judgement, in contrast, represents the conclusion of a legal action.


Images Courtesy:

  1. The Jury of the Future — One That Might Temper Justice with Mercy by MCAD Library (CC BY 2.0)
  2. Judges via Wikicommons (Public Domain)