The Law Dictionary

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COGNIZANCE Definition & Legal Meaning

Definition & Citations:

In old practice. That part of a fine in which the defendant acknowledged that the land in question was the right of the complainant. From this the fine itself derived its name, as being sur cognizance de droit, etc., and the parties their titles of cognizer and cognizee. In modern practice. Judicial notice or knowledge; the judicial hearing of a cause ; jurisdiction, or right to try and determine causes; acknowledgment; confession; recognition. Of pleas. Jurisdiction of causes. A privilege granted by the king to a city or town to hold pleas within the same. Claim of cognizance (or of conusance) is an intervention by a third person, demanding judicature in the cause against the plaintiff, who has chosen to commence his action out of claimant’s court. 2 Wils. 409; 2 Bl. Comm. 350, note. In pleading. A species of answer in the action of replevin, by which the defendant acknowledges the taking of the goods which are the subject-matter of the action, and also that he has no title to them, but justifies the taking on the ground that it was done by the command of one who was entitled to the property. In the process of levying a fine, it is an acknowledgment by the deforciant that the lands in question belong to the complainant. In the language of American jurisprudence, this word is used chiefly in the sense of jurisdiction, or the exercise of jurisdiction; the judicial examination of a matter, or power and authority to make it. Webster v. Com., 5 Cush. (Mass.) 400; Clarion County v. Hospital, 111 Pa. 339, 3 Atl. 07. Judicial cognizance is judicial notice, or knowledge upon which a judge is bound to act without having it proved in evidence.


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