Virginia Code Section 8.01-446 provides that the clerk of each court of every circuit shall keep in his/her office, in a well-bound book, a judgment docket, in which he shall docket, without delay, any judgment for a specific amount of money rendered in his/her court or any other court of this Commonwealth or federal court. A specific judgment for money shall state that it is a judgment for money in a specific amount in favor of a named party, against a named party, with that party's address, if known, and it shall further state the time from which the judgment bears interest.
A "Judgment Docket" is one required to be kept by clerks for the entry of judgments. Virginia Code Section 17.1-232 provides that abstracts of all judgments authorized or required by law to be docketed or recorded and abstracts of all executions issued on any judgment shall be recorded in a book to be known as the judgment docket.
Clerks use various forms of a judgment docket. The clerk may maintain the docket on computer, word processor, microfilm, microfiche, or other microphotographic process. Every judgment shall, as soon as it is docketed, be indexed by the clerk in the name of each defendant, as required by Va. Code Section 17.1-249, and shall not be regarded as docketed as to any defendant in whose name it is not so indexed. Va. Code Section 8.01-450.
What Constitutes a "Judgment?"
Virginia Code Section 8.01-426 says that, "A decree for land or for specific personal property, and a decree or order requiring payment of money, shall have the effect of a judgment for such land property or money and be embraced by the word 'judgment.'"
Such things as criminal fines and costs serve as judgments in favor of the Commonwealth, Va. Code Section 19.2-336, 19.2-340, 19.2-341. Restitution to the victim of a crime may be docketed when so ordered by the court or upon the written request of the victim. Va. Code Section 19.2-305.2(B).
Federal and State tax liens: Va. Code Section 55-142.2, 58.1-1805, Virginia Department of Social Services: Va. Code Section 63.1-254, Virginia Department of Labor and Industry: Va. Code Section 401.-29, Virginia Department of Conservation and Economic Development: Va. Code Section 45.1-246(D), Virginia State Corporation Commission: Va. Code Section 12.1-37, and Municipal Improvements Assessments: Va. Code Section 15.2-2412.
Orders of awards of the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission. Va. Code Section 65.2-710.
What is the Effective Date of a Judgment?
- The date on which the order or decree is signed: Va. Code Section 17.1-123.
- In a criminal case, the date of sentencing: Va. Code Section 19.2-336.
- In the case of non-judicial liens (Section 2.10 (3), above), the date of judgment.
Exception: In the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, please note that the Attorney General has ruled that such matters are effective, at the point of docketing. See Attorney General Opinion to Semonian dated April 14, 1995. Interest runs from date of judgment, but on foreign judgments, it runs from date of docketing.
- In the case of a Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission award, a certification by the Commission. Va. Code Section 65.2-710.
Docketing a Judgment
- Docketing a judgment means to make apparent, in a public record of the court that there is a judgment debtor, judgment creditor, and to make it clear when and where the judgment was granted, etc. Va. Code Section 8.01-446. Docketing should be done "without delay" by the clerk. See Attorney General Opinion to Pritchett dated 11/21/86.
- In criminal cases, the judgment should be docketed as soon as possible after the clerk has prepared a statement of fines and costs. Va. Code Section 19.2-336.
- Restitution orders pursuant to Va. Code Section 19.2-305.2(B) may be docketed as request of the victim and may be enforced by a victim named in the court order to receive the restitution in the same manner as a judgment in a civil action. If the order requires interest and does not specify that interest shall accrue from the date of the loss or damage, the interest shall automatically accrue from the date of the sentencing order. Va. Code Section 19.2-305.4.
- Orders for the payment of arrearage in support and maintenance constitute a final judgment for a sum certain and are docketed in the same manner as other judgments without the need for the court to specifically order the docketing of the judgment. Va. Code Section 8.01-460 and 20-78.2. For awards payable in future installments however, see section 2.31.