Information and Belief

Information and Belief

A standard phrase added to qualify a statement made under oath; a phrase indicating that a statement is made, not from firsthand knowledge but, nevertheless, in the firm belief that it is true.

For example, an Affidavit may be needed at some point in a lawsuit even though the individual (whether a party to or a witness in the lawsuit) who has firsthand information is out of the country on business. In many such circumstances that individual's attorney may make an affidavit for him or her. The attorney must indicate that the individual is swearing only to facts that he or she has been told and believes to be true; in other words, on information and belief.

information and belief

n. a phrase often used in legal pleadings (complaints and answers in a lawsuit), declarations under penalty of perjury, and affidavits under oath, in which the person making the statement or allegation qualifies it. In effect, he/she says: "I am only stating what I have been told, and I believe it." This makes clear about which statements he/she does not have sure-fire, personal knowledge (perhaps it is just hearsay or surmise), and protects the maker of the statement from claims of outright falsehood or perjury. The typical phraseology is: "Plaintiff is informed and believes, and upon such information and belief alleges that defendant diverted the funds to his own use." (See: declaration, affidavit, complaint, answer, perjury)

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