Face

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Face

The external appearance or surface of anything; that which is readily observable by a spectator. The words contained in a document in their plain or obvious meaning without regard to external evidence or facts.

The term is applied most frequently in business law to mean the apparent meaning of a contract, paper, bill, bond, record, or other such legal document. A document might appear to be valid on its face, but circumstances may modify or explain it, and its meaning or validity can be altered.

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