What Is a Stipulated Judgment?

A stipulated judgment is when both parties in civil court case agree to settle their dispute, and the judge signs a legal document reflecting the parties’ agreement. A stipulated judgment is also called a consent decree or a consent judgment.

A civil court case begins when a plaintiff files a complaint with the court against the defendant requesting the court to order the defendant to take a certain action in order to right an alleged wrong. The defendant may also file a counterclaim against the plaintiff if he feels the plaintiff is at fault for the dispute. As the case progresses, the judge may hold settlement conferences in court that require the parties of the case and their attorneys to appear and attempt to resolve the case before it goes to trial. In addition, the judge may also order the parties to submit their claims to a mediator for the purpose of resolving the case before trial. Judicial economy is the main reason judges prefer to settle cases before their scheduled trial date. The vast majority of civil cases settle out of court, and studies suggest that plaintiffs get more money when they settle cases rather than taking them to trial.