Legal Definition and Related Resources of Verdict

Meaning of Verdict

The formal declaration of a jury given after the trial of a cause, as reported by the jury to the court on the question of fact submitted to it for decision. A verdict may be either general or special. It is general where the jury gives a finding on the case generally as when it finds for the plaintiff or for the defendant or finds the accused guilty or not guilty. It may be special as where certain questions are put to the jury by the judge for its answers, so that the judge can dispose of the case by applying the law to the findings. In a criminal sense, a jury has the right to return a verdict of guilty in relation to a lesser offense where a greater offence is charged; as where a man is charged with murder but the jury is satisfied only that he committed manslaughter. Where, however, a greater crime is disclosed than that which is charged, the jury cannot return a verdict of guilty for the greater crime.

Verdict Alternative Definition

The expression of the concurrence of individual judgments, rather than the product of mixed thoughts. 17 Kan. 462; 20 Ann. Cas. 880. In practice. The unanimous decision made by a jury and reported to the court on the matters lawfully submitted to them in the course of a trial of a cause. It is the theory of jury trials that, from the testimony each individual juror should be led to the same conclusion; and this unanimous conclusion is the certainty of fact sought in the law. 17 Kan. 462; 20 Ann. Cas. 880. Under comparatively recent statutory provisions in some states a verdict or special finding in a civil case, concurred in by three-fourths of the jurors only, is valid. 171 Mo. 84; 70 S. W. 891; 7 Ohio App. 99; 100 Ohio St. 315; 125 N. E. 875.
(1) A general verdict is one by which the jury pronounce at the same time on the fact and the law, either in favor of the plaintiff or defendant. Co. Litt. 228; 4 Bl. Comm. 461. The jury may find such a verdict whenever they think fit to do so.
(2) A partial verdict in a criminal case is one by which the jury acquit the defendant of a part of the accusation against him, and find him guilty of the residue. The following are examples of this kind of a verdict, namely: When they acquit the defendant on one count, and find him guilty on another, which is indeed a species of general verdict, as he is generally acquitted on one charge, and generally convicted on another; when the charge is of an offense of a higher, and includes one of an inferior, degree, the jury may convict of the less atrocious by finding a partial verdict. Thus, upon an indictment for burglary, the defendant may be convicted of larceny, and acquitted of the nocturnal entry; upon an indictment for murder, he may be convicted of rnanslaughter; robbery may be softened to simple larceny; a battery into a common assault. 1 Chit. Crim. Law, 638, and the cases there cited.
(3) A privy verdict is one delivered privily to a judge out of court. A verdict of this kind is delivered to the judge after the jury have agreed, for the convenience of the jury, who, after having given it, separate. This verdict is of no force whatever, and this practice, being exceedingly liable to abuse, is seldom if ever allowfed in the United States. The jury, however, are allowed in some states, in certain cases, to seal their verdict and return it into court, as, for example, where a verdict is agreed upon during the adjournment of the court for the day.
(4) A public verdict is one delivered in open court. This verdict has its full effect, and, unless set aside, is conclusive on the facts, and, when judgment is rendered upon it, bars all future controversy, in personal actions. A private verdict must afterwards be given publicly in order to give it any eifect.
(5) A special verdict is one by which the facts of the case are put on the record, and the law is submitted to the judges. 1 Litt. (Ky.) 376; 4 Rand. (Va.) 504; 1 Hen. & M. (Va.) 235; 1 Wash. C. C. (U. S.) 499; 2 Mason (U. S.) 31. The jury have an option, instead of finding the negative or affirmative of the issue, as in a general verdict, to find all the facts of the case as disclosed by the evidence before the).., and, after so setting them forth, to conclude to the following effect: “That they are ignorant, in point of law, on which side they ought upon those facts to find the issue; that if, upon the whole matter, the court shall be of opinion that the issue is proved for the plaintiff, they find for the plaintiff accordingly, and assess the damages at such a sum, etc.; but if the court are of an opposite opinion, then they find vice versa.” This form of finding is called a “special verdict.” In practice they have nothing to do with the formal preparation of the special verdict. When it is agreed that a verdict of that kind is to be given, the jury merely declare their opinion as to any fact remaining in doubt, and then the verdict is adjusted without their further interference. It is settled, under the correction of the judge, by the counsel and attorneys on either side, according to the state of the facts as found by the jury, with respect to all particulars on which they have delivered an opinion, and, with respect to other particulars, according to the state of facts which it is agreed that they ought to find upon the evidence before them. The special verdict, when its form is thus settled, is together with the whole proceedings on the trial, then entered on record; and the question of law, arising on the facts found, is argued before the court in banc, and decided by that court as in case of a demurrer. If either party be dissatisfied with their decision, he may afterwards resort to a court of error. Steph. PL 113; 1 Archb. Prac. 189; 3 Bl. Comm. 377; Bac. Abr. “Verdict” (D, E). There is another method of finding a special verdict. This is when the jury find a verdict generally for the plaintiff, but subject, nevertheless, to the opinion of the judges or the court above on a special case, stated Jjy the counsel on both sides, with regard to a matter of law. 3 Bl. Comm. 378. And see 10 Mass. 64; 11 Mass. 358. See, generally, Bouv. Inst. Index.
(6) A sealed verdict is one arrived at and delivered, to be returned to the court when it shall again convene after a recess or adjournment for the day, during which the agreement of the Jurors is reached. It is inclosed in a sealed packet, and is opened and read at the ensuing sitting of the court, in the presence of the jury. It is permitted by special direction of the court in order to avoid confining the jury for a long period after agreeing, and enables them to separate subject to the duty to attend the opening of the verdict. court. A verdict returned by the jury, the entry of judgment upon which is subject to the determination of points of law reserved by the court upon the trial.

Synonyms of Verdict


  • adjudication
  • answer
  • assessment
  • award
  • conclusion
  • decision
  • decision of a jury
  • declaration of a jury
  • decree of a jury
  • definitive answer
  • determination
  • finding
  • ludicium
  • judgment
  • opinion of the jury
  • pronouncement of a jury
  • resolution by a jury
  • ruling
  • sentence
  • sententia
  • Associated Concepts: adverse verdict
  • arbitrary verdict
  • compromise verdict
  • directed verdict
  • estoppel by verdict
  • excessive verdict
  • final verdict
  • general verdict
  • incongruous verdict
  • informal verdict
  • judgment
  • notwithstanding verdict
  • open verdict
  • partial verdict
  • quotient verdict
  • recorded verdict
  • rendering of a verdict
  • special verdict
  • unanimous verdict
  • void verdict foreign phrases: Veredictum
  • quasi dictum veritatis; ut judicium
  • quasi juris
  • A verdict is
  • as it were
  • the expression of the truth; as ajudgment is
  • as it were
  • the expression of the law
  • Non obstante veredicto
  • Nolwilhstanding the verdict

Related Entries of Verdict in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Verdict in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Verdict in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Verdict in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Verdict in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

You might be also interested in these legal terms:

Mentioned in these terms

Compromise Verdict, Coroner, Directed Verdict, Double Jeopardy, Facts In Controversy, Fly For It, General Verdict, Hung-jury, Inconsistent, Judgment Roll, , Motion For Judgment Notwithstanding Verdict, New Trial, Newly Discovered Evidence, Nonsuit, Not Guilty, Record, Remittitur, Special Verdict, Stipulation.

Translate Motion For A Directed Verdict from English to Spanish

Translation of Motion For A Directed Verdict, with examples. More about free online translation into Spanish of Pedimento para un veredicto mandado por el juez and other legal terms is available here.

Translate Render A Verdict from English to Spanish

Translation of Render A Verdict , with examples. More about free online translation into Spanish of Formular un veredicto and other legal terms is available here.


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Related topics Verdict in the World Encyclopedia of Law


This definition of Verdict is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

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Verdict in the law of the United States

Verdict: Related U.S. Resources

See Also

Acquittal (in the U.S. Legal Encyclopedia) Conviction (in the U.S. Legal Encyclopedia) Jury (in the U.S. Legal Encyclopedia).


See Also

  • Law Dictionaries.
  • jeopardy; sentence.

    courts of law

  • Verdict in Law Enforcement

    Main Entry: Law Enforcement in the Legal Dictionary. This section provides, in the context of Law Enforcement, a partial definition of verdict.


    See Also

    • Law Enforcement Officer
    • Police
    • Law Enforcement Agency

    Further Reading

    (noun) the formal decision or finding of a judge or jury

    Justice System: verdict

    Verdict Meaning in the U.S. Court System

    The decision of a trial jury or a judge that determines the guilt or innocence of a criminal defenda
    nt, or that determines the final outcome of a civil case.

    Meaning of Verdict in the U.S. Legal System

    Definition of Verdict published by the National Association for Court Management: A conclusion, as to fact or law that forms the basis for the court’s judgment. A general verdict is a jury’s finding for or against a plaintiff after determining the facts and weighing them according to the judge’s instructions regarding the law.

    Meaning of Verdict in Political Science

    A very basic notion of Verdict related to the United States’election law is provided here: The finding or judgment of a court

    Verdict (Civil Judicial Process)




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