Matter of Record

Also found in: Dictionary, Idioms.

Matter of Record

Anything that has been entered in the formal written record of a court, which can be proved by the production of that record.

A court produces a lengthy written record of a trial. A matter of record is anything entered in the official court record, including pleadings, testimony, evidence, motions, objections, rulings, and the verdict. Any matter of record can be proved by producing the relevant document from the trial court record.

Proving matters of record is especially important in petitions for appeal. When appellate courts determine whether to hear an appeal, the existence of a matter of record can be decisive: the record can conclusively refute allegations contained in the petition. Thus, for example, an appeal based on something said in testimony must be supported by the record; if it is not, the court may deny the petition without any further consideration. An appellate court in most instances will not consider evidence, issues, or objections that were not made a part of the record at trial. Getting an issue into the record at trial is said to preserve the issue for appeal.

In general, matters of record are available to the public unless state law or court order prevents them from being released. For example, courts typically refuse to release the names of minors who are victims of sexual assault. Rhode Island's family court rules of practice provide another example; matters of record "involving scandal or immoral practices" are kept private except from the parties in interest or their representatives (R.I. R. Fam. Ct. Prac. Rule 3.3).

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

matter of record

n. anything, including testimony, evidence, rulings, and sometimes arguments which has been recorded by the court reporter or court clerk. It is an expression often heard in trials and legal arguments that "such and such is a matter of record" as distinguished from actions outside the court or discussions not written down or taped.

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

MATTER OF RECORD. Those facts which may be proved by the production of a record. It differs from matter in deed, which consists of facts which may be proved by specialty. Vide Estoppel.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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