Sunday, January 3, 2010

Jurisdiction In Law (2)

By statute in most jurisdictions a judgment, after being docketed, becomes a lien on the real property of the judgment, debtor. It is subject to all valid prior liens existing at the time it was docketed, but takes precedence over all subsequent liens of any character except those for obligations to the municipal, State, or Federal governments, such as taxes and assessments. The public docket gives legal notice of the lien to all persons, just as the record of a mortgage operates, and any intending purchaser who omits to search for judgments against the owner of the property in question does so at his peril, even though he has not actually learned of the judgment, as he is deemed to have constructive notice of all matters of public record. This lien is usually restricted to the jurisdiction of the particular court in which it is rendered, unless a transcript or brief description of the judgment is obtained from the clerk and filed in another jurisdiction in the same State, usually another county, in which case its force is extended to that county. The duration of this lien is usually fixed by statute, otherwise it continues as long as the judgment is in force, unless waived by the judgment creditor. In most States by statute there is a legal presumption that a judgment is satisfied after the expiration of twenty years, but usually it is provided that this may be rebutted by proof to the contrary.

Where a judgment is void or avoidable because of lack of jurisdiction of the court, or because of fraud or some irregularity, it may be opened and set aside on motion of the judgment debtor. Where it is obtained by reason of a default in pleading or appearance, or by mistake of either party, the court may in its discretion vacate it,. direct the proper pleadings to be served or filed, and permit the cause to proceed to trial on the merits. This is usually granted on terms, such as payment of costs.

A judgment may be assigned by an instrument in writing, and the assignee will take all the rights and remedies of the judgment creditor. It will also descend as a part of the assets of a deceased owner. Upon payment of the amount of the judgment and accrued interest, the judgment debtor is entitled to a satisfaction piece. Consult: Black, The Law of Judgments (2d ed., Saint Paul, 1903); Freeman, The Law of Judgments (4th ed., San Francisco, 1892).

Source of Information: From my Collection of Books: The New International Encyclopedia; 1902-1905 Dodd, Mead and Company-New York Total of 21 Volumes

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