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Related to recognisances: recognizances


A recorded obligation, entered into before a tribunal, in which an individual pledges to perform a specific act or to subscribe to a certain course of conduct.

For example, an individual who owes money might enter into a recognizance whereby she agrees to satisfy the debt.

In Criminal Law, an individual who has been found guilty of an offense can be mandated to enter into a recognizance whereby she agrees to keep the peace in the future. An individual who has been accused but not yet convicted of a criminal offense may be allowed to go free prior to the trial without being required to post a bail bond. The accused individual provides the court with a formal written statement, which declares that his failure to appear will precipitate payment to the court of a specifically indicated sum of money. This is known as a release on one's own recognizance, or personal recognizance.


noun acknowledgment, assurance, avowal, bond, commitment, guaranty, obligation, promise, security, surety, warranty
See also: binder, compromise, concession, contract, guaranty, identification, recollection, remembrance, specialty


a bond given by an offender to obey a judgment or keep the peace.

RECOGNIZANCE, contracts. An obligation of record entered into before a court or officer duly authorized for that purpose, with a condition to do some act required by law, which is therein specified. 2 Bl. Com. 341; Bro. Ab. h.t.; Dick. Just. h.t.; 1 Chit. Cr. Law, 90.
     2. Recognizances relate either to criminal or civil matters. 1. Recognizances in criminal cases, are either that the party shall appear before the proper court to answer to such charges as are or shall be made against him, that he shall keep the peace or be of good behaviour. Witnesses are also required to be bound in a recognizance to testify.
     3.-2. In civil cases, recognizances are entered into by bail, conditioned that they will pay the debt, interest and costs recovered by the plaintiff under certain contingencies. There are also cases where recognizances are entered into under the authority and requirements of statutes.
     4. As to the form. The party need not sign it; the court, judge or magistrate having authority to take the same, makes a short memorandum on the record, which is sufficient. 2 Binn. R. 481; 1 Chit. Cr. Law, 90; 2 Wash. C. C. R. 422; 9 Mass. 520; 1 Dana, 523; 1 Tyler, 291; 4 Vern. 488; 1 Stew. & Port. 465; 7 Vern. 529; 2 A. R. Marsh. 131; 5 S. & R. 147; Vide generally, Com. Dig. Forcible Entry, D 27; Id. Obligation, K; Whart. Dig. h.t. Vin. Ab. h.t.; Rolle's Ab. h.t.; 2 Wash. C. C. Rep. 422; Id. 29; 2 Yeates, R. 437; 1 Binn. R. 98, note 1 Serg. & Rawle, 328 3 Yeates, R. 93; Burn. Just. h.t. Vin. Ab. h.t.; 2 Sell. Pract. 45.