How Much Do ‘Judge Judy’ Litigants Get Paid? Probably More Than You Think (2023)

Everyone who appears on episodes of ‘Judge Judy’ — including the spectators — gets paid for their time. How much do they actually make, though?

How Much Do ‘Judge Judy’ Litigants Get Paid? Probably More Than You Think (1)

By Abi Travis

May 20 2020, Updated 6:01 p.m. ET

Even though Judge Judy will be leaving the air shortly, it’s safe to say that the reality court show —along with the feisty judge at its center — will always be absolutely iconic. There’s a lot to like about Judge Judy Sheindlin, although it’s probably easier to like her if you aren’t staring down the barrel of one of her acerbic rulings.

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They say that crime doesn’t pay, but in the case of the litigants who appear on the show, that’s not exactly true. Since Judge Judy is a TV show, the people who appear on it get paid to do so. Both the plaintiff and the defendant receive an appearance fee for their time. But is it actually worth it to get on the show? How much is the appearance fee on Judge Judy? Here’s what we know.

How much is the appearance fee on ‘Judge Judy’?

The amount of money people receive for appearing on Judge Judy varies, probably depending on how much time they actually spend on screen or other factors. Some litigants have reported receiving $500, while others have received either $250 or even as low as $100. If Judge Judy Sheindlin issues a verdict of a specific dollar amount, the plaintiff receives that amount in addition to their appearance fee.

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How Much Do ‘Judge Judy’ Litigants Get Paid? Probably More Than You Think (3)

Also, while the judgments are real, the defendants don’t actually have to pay the awards. Actually, the show pays the plaintiff whatever dollar amount Judge Judy awards — though there’s a limit of $5,000. If you’re ever going to be on Judge Judy, you want to be a plaintiff, but being the defendant isn’t so bad from a financial standpoint (as long as you can handle Judge Judy being mad at you). Even the spectators get paid, although they’re only making minimum wage.

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The appearance fee isn’t the only perk for ‘Judge Judy’ litigants.

In addition to receiving an appearance fee (and a monetary award if Judge Judy rules in their favor), people on the show also receive a $35 per diem for every day they’re in town for taping, plus the show covers their airfare and hotel expenses for their stay. Generally, litigants stay in Hollywood, Calif. for two or three days and don’t have to worry about paying for anything the entire time. Not bad for a few days of “work,” right?

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Judge Judy has a pretty sweet deal, too.

In order to film episodes of the show, Judge Judy flies to California via private jet every other Monday from her home in Naples, Fla. — unless it's summer, in which case she flies to California from another home in Greenwich, Conn. She then hears cases on Tuesdays and Wednesdays before flying back home. Every once in a while, she stays for Thursdays, too, but for the most part, she only has to work five days out of every month.

We think Judge Judy has certainly provided enough quality entertainment to earn her an easy work week. She probably could have taken the last few years off and still earned it, to be honest. The fact that the show is so easy and relatively cheap to make is the reason why we have so many episodes to enjoy, so we really wouldn’t change a thing.


How Much Do ‘Judge Judy’ Litigants Get Paid? Probably More Than You Think? ›

According to Business Insider, the amount is $100 to $500 per day, depending on the case. So there you have it. Yes, people do get paid to be on Judge Judy, and no, the cases are not staged. On 'Judge Judy,' each of the plaintiff and defendant is required to pay an appearance fee.

How much do litigants get paid to appear on Judge Judy? ›

How Much Do Guests Make On Judge Judy? Earnings from Judge Judy apparently varied widely throughout its seasons, and it seems no exact figures have ever been released. However, Distractify reported that various litigants provided earnings information, saying they received anywhere from $100 to $500.

How are Judgements paid on Judge Judy? ›

Who Pays on Judge Judy. A claim can be made for up to $5,000, and the award for each judgment on Judge Judy is paid by the producers.

How much does the plaintiff on Judge Judy make? ›

Actually, the show pays the plaintiff whatever dollar amount Judge Judy awards — though there's a limit of $5,000.

Who pays the lawsuits on Judge Judy? ›

TV judges make their decision on the case and either decide for the plaintiff, in which case the show's producers award them a judgment fee, or with the defendant, in which case the producers award both parties with an appearance fee.

Do both sides get paid on Judge Judy? ›

On Judge Judy, both sides are offered appearance fees, a daily wage and travel expenses for the duration of the taping. Once a decision is made, producers pay it to the victorious party.

What happens if you lose your case on Judge Judy? ›

On TV, the judge will tell the losing party that they will need to pay a certain amount to the other side but in reality, many show's producers will pay the winning party the amount the losing party owes as an incentive to appear on court tv. From the perspective of the person being sued, this is great!

Has Judge Judy ever been sued? ›

Lawsuits. In March 2013, a lawsuit was filed against Sheindlin by Patrice Jones, the estranged wife of Randy Douthit (executive producer of Sheindlin's Judge Judy and later Judy Justice court shows).

Is Judge Judy's partner a female? ›

Do court shows pay the Judgements? ›

The show pays the judgment from a fund reserved for each case, paid for by the show's advertising and syndication revenue; the defendant and plaintiff alike are both compensated with an appearance fee.

Are the Judgements on Judge Judy real? ›

The cases are real -- but the proceeding is an arbitration. Though Judge Judith Sheindlin once presided in a New York courtroom, her role on TV is technically that of an arbitrator, The Consumerist website reports. This goes for other TV judges as well.

Why is Judge Judy's granddaughter on her show? ›

"Judge Judy" aired for 25 years before it came to an end. The tough-talking former New York family court judge's popularity made her the highest-paid personality on TV. When it came time for her second act, the TV star asked her granddaughter to join her as her new law clerk.

How much does Judge Judy's bailiff make per episode? ›

This level of filming is able to produce about 260 episodes each season, which air on over 200 stations in the United States. Although the salary numbers seem high, Bailiff Byrd earns about $4,000 per episode. Do Judge Judy's cases get paid?

What does Judge Judy do with all her money? ›

Judge Judy has made several notable investments and acquisitions, showcasing her luxury lifestyle. Her real estate portfolio includes properties such as an $11 million penthouse and a nearby mansion in Naples, Florida.

Why do they have to leave the papers on Judge Judy? ›

The participants' travel expenses are paid by the show, as are the monetary settlements. The papers that can't be removed could be anything: their contracts for the show, the settlement agreements, NDAs, etc. The fact that they can't take the paperwork is outlined in the contracts they sign to be on the show.

What is Judge Judy doing now? ›

In 2021, Judge Judith Sheindlin, the razor-tongued court show star, decamped from the dying medium of daytime broadcast syndication and joined Amazon for a streaming-era experiment.

How much does the audience get on Judge Judy? ›

Those folks in the spectator seats are paid extras (often aspiring actors) who earn $8 per hour to sit and look attentive. Prospective audience members apply for the limited amount of seats by emailing their contact information along with a clear headshot to one of Judge Judy's production coordinators.

How do you get on the Judge Judy show? ›

Submit Your Case - Judge Judy. If you have a case you'd like Judge Judy to hear - fill out this form and a representative from the show will contact you if additional information is required. All lines with an asterisk * must be filled out or we cannot accept your submission.

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