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A written or printed instrument that conveys information.

The term document generally refers to a particular writing or instrument that has a bearing upon specific transactions. A deed, a marriage license, and a record of account are all considered to be documents.

When a document is signed and the signature is authentic, the law accurately expresses the state of mind of the individual who signed it. A false document is one of which a material portion is purported to have been made or authorized by someone who did not do so. It can also be a document that is falsely dated or which has allegedly been made by or on behalf of someone who did not in fact exist.

An ancient document is a writing presumed by the court to be genuine due to its antiquity, because it has been produced from a reliable source where it would be logically found, and because it has been carefully kept.

A private document is any instrument executed by a private citizen. A public document is one that is or should legally be readily available for inspection by the public, as a document issued by Congress or a governmental department.

Judicial documents include inquisitions, depositions, examinations, and affidavits.


Ancient Writing.

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


n. a popular generic word among lawyers for any paper with writing on it. Technically it could include a piece of wood with a will or message scratched on it. (See: documentary evidence)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
But in reality, when management teams are confronted with the pressures of survival, improving and documenting controls is not generally a high priority.
Part II explores the steps to be taken after obtaining CD-ROM search results, including analyzing the initial results, modifying the search request for any necessary follow-up search, determining when to conclude the research and documenting the results.
Documenting changes also provides a trail for auditors to test compliance with the company's policies and procedures in internal and external audits.
Documenting these items early in the planning phase provides a foundation for successive deliverables such as the request for proposal (RFP).
Documenting client interaction can protect CPAs from liability in client malpractice claims, preventing thousands of dollars in settlement costs.
"Historical Data Archives: Preserving and Documenting Historical Data." Proceedings of the DLM Forum on Electronic Records.