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If the jury has arrived at a verdict, the foreperson of the jury hands the verdict to the judge. The judge checks to see that it is in its proper form and then hands it back to the foreperson. The foreperson then reads the verdict. Judgment is entered on the verdict. In a bench trial, the judge can either issue the judgment from the bench directly after the closing of oral arguments, or take the case under advisement and issue a written judgment at a later date. It is common for the judge in a bench trial to take the case under advisement, perhaps explaining why bench trials are on the docket longer than jury cases.

The types of relief that may be granted by the court are monetary judgments, equitable relief, declaratory relief, and an award of costs and/or of attorneys’ fees. The parties bear their own legal costs and fees as a rule with respect to litigation in the United States, in contrast to the English Rule in which the legal costs and fees are generally awarded to the prevailing party. In certain areas, such as consumer or antitrust cases, a statutory provision can give the court discretion to order the losing party, usually the economically stronger party, to pay the legal costs and fees of the prevailing party. A party refusing to comply with an order for equitable relief can be sanctioned either by fines or imprisonment.

Excerpted with permission of the author from: American Business Law A Civil Law Perspective, Laura Carlson, J.D. (USA), LL.M. (Sweden)