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A formal statement appearing in a legal document such as a deed that is preliminary in nature and provides an explanation of the reasons for the transaction.
The recital in a deed, for example, might indicate the reasons why the owner is selling the property.
In Pleading, a recital is the statement of matter that is introductory to a positive allegation; it begins with the words, "For that whereas …" and is followed by the claim of the party.
RECITAL, contracts, pleading. The repetition of some former writing, or the
statement of something which has been done. Touchst. 76.
2. Recitals are used to explain those matters of fact which are necessary to make the transaction intelligible. 2 Bl. Com. 298. It is said that when a deed of defeasance recites the deed which it is meant to defeat, it must recite it truly. Cruise, Dig. tit. 32, c 7, s. 28. In other cases it need not be so particular. 3 Penna. Rep. 324; 3 Chan. Cas. 101; Co. Litt. 352 b; Com. Dig. Fait, E 1.
3. A party who executes a deed reciting a particular fact is estopped from denying such fact; as, when it was recited in the condition of a bond that the obligor had received divers sums of money for the obligee which he had not brought to account, and acknowledged that a balance was due to the obligee, it was holden that the obligor was estopped to say that he had not received any money for the use of the obligee. Willes, 9, 25; Rolle's Ab. 872, 3.
4. In pleading, when public statutes are recited, a small variance will not be fatal, where by the recital the party is not "tied up to the statute;" that is, if the conclusion be contra formam statuti praediti. Sav. 42; 1 Chit. Crim. Law, 276 Esp. on Penal Stat. 106. Private statutes must be recited in pleading, and proved by an exemplified copy, unless the opposite party, by his pleading admit them.
5. By the plea of nul tiel record, the party relying on a private statute is put to prove it as recited, and a variance will be fatal. See 4 Co. 76; March, Rep. 117, pl. 193; 3 Harr. & McHen. 388. Vide. generally, 12 Vin. Ab. 129; 13 Vin. Ab. 417; 18 Vin. Ab. 162; 8 Com. Dig. 584; Com. Dig. Testemoigne Evid. B 5; 4 Binn. R. 231; 1 Dall. R. 67; 3 Binn. R. 175; 3 Yeates, R. 287; 4 Yeates, R. 362, 577; 9 Cowen, R. 86; 4 Mason, R. 268; Yelv. R. 127 a, note 1; Cruise, Dig. tit. 32, c. 20, s. 23; 5 Johns. Ch. Rep. 23; 7 Halst. R. 22; 2 Bailey's R. 101; 6 Harr. & Johns. 336; 9 Cowen's R. 271; 1 Dana's R. 327; 15 Pick. R. 68; 5 N. H. Rep. 467; 12 Pick. R, 157; Toullier in his Droit Civil Francais, liv. 3, t. 3, c. 6, n. 157 et seq. has examined this subject with his usual ability. 2 Hill. Ab. c. 29, s. 30; 2 Bail. R. 430; 2 B. & A. 625; 2 Y. & J. 407; 5 Harr. & John. 164; Cov. on Conv. Ev. 298, 315; Hurl. on Bonds, 33; 6 Watts & Serg. 469.
6. Formerly, in equity, the decree contained recitals of the pleadings in the cause, which became a great grievance. Some of the English chancellors endeavored to restrain this prolixity. By the rules of practice for the courts in equity of the United States it is provided, that in drawing up decrees and orders, neither the bill, nor the answer, nor other pleading nor any part thereof, nor the report of any master, nor any other prior proceedings, shall be stated or recited in the decree or order. Rule 86; 4 Bouv. Inst. n. 4443.