Default Judgment

Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Default Judgment

Default Judgment

Quick Summary of Default Judgment

At trial, a decision awarded to the plaintiff when a defendant fails to contest the case. To appeal a default judgment, a defendant must first file a motion in the court that issued it to have the default vacated (set aside).

What is the dictionary definition of Default Judgment?

Dictionary Definition

n. if a defendant in a lawsuit fails to respond to a complaint in the time set by law (commonly 20 or 30 days), then the plaintiff (suer) can request that the default (failure) be entered into the court record by the clerk, which gives the plaintiff the right to get a default judgment. If the complaint was for a specific amount of money owed on a note, other money due, or a specific contract price (or if the amount due is easy to calculate) then the clerk of the court can enter a default judgment. If proof of damages or other relief is necessary, a hearing will be held in which the judge determines terms of the default judgment. In either case, the defendant cannot speak for himself/herself. A defendant who fails to file an answer or other legal response when it is due can request that the default be set aside, but must show a legitimate excuse and a good defense to the lawsuit.

Full Definition of Default Judgment

A default judgment is awarded if a defendant in a lawsuit fails to respond to a complaint within a specified timeframe, generally 30 days. For instance, if the petition or complaint asked for a response within 30 days on the 31 days if the defendant did not respond the plaintiff could ask for a default judgment. Under some conditions, if the defendant fails to answer the complaint the default may be set aside if the defendant can demonstrate a legitimate excuse and a good defense to the lawsuit.

Under a default judgment, the court can grant the petitioner all reasonable requests within their complaint. For instance, a lien may be placed on property or a divorce may be granted. If you have received a complaint it is important to talk to a lawyer about how to respond. Complaints do not go away and if you fail to respond you can expect a default judgment which may force you to liable for certain payments.

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Default Judgment. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd.
October 05, 2022
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Default Judgment. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: October 05, 2022).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Default Judgment. Retrieved October 05, 2022
, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Default Judgment are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 27th April, 2020 | 0 Views.