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RECORD, n Definition & Legal Meaning

Definition & Citations:

A written account of some act, transaction, or instrument, drawn up, under authority of law, by a proper officer, and designed to remain as a memorial or permanent evidence of the matters to which It relates. There are three kinds of records, viz.: (1) judicial, as an attainder; (2) ministerial, on oath, being an office or inquisition found; (3) by way of conveyance, as a deed enrolled. Wharton. In practice. A written memorial of all the acts and proceedings in an action or suit in a court of record. The record is the official and authentic history of the cause, consisting in entries of each successive step in the proceedings, chronicling the various acts of the parties and of the court, couched in the formal language established by usage, terminating with the judgment rendered in the cause, and intended to remain as a per- petual and unimpeachable memorial of the proceedings and judgment. At common law, “record” signifies a roll of parchment upon which the proceedings and transactions of a court are entered or drawn up by its officers, and which is then deposited in its treasury in perpetuam rei memoriam. 3 Steph. Comm. 583 ; 3 Bl. Comm. 24. A court of record is that where the acts and judicial proceedings are enrolled in parchment for a perpetual memorial and testimony, which rolls are called the “records of the court,” and are of such high and supereminent authority that their truth is not to be called in question. Hahn v. Kelly, .34 Cal. 422, 94 Am. Dec. 742. And see O’Connell v. Hotchkiss, 44 Conn. 53; Murrah v. State, 51 Miss. 656; Bellas v. Mc- Carty, 10 Watts (Pa.) 24; U. S. v. Taylor, 147 U. S. 695, 13 Sup. Ct. 479, 37 L Ed. 335; State v. Godwin, 27 N. C. 403, 44 Am. Dec. 42; Vail v. Iglehart. 69 111. 334; State v. Anders, 64 Kan. 742. 68 Pac. 668: Wilkinson v. Railway Co. (C. C.) 23 Fed. 502; In re Chris- tern, 43 N. Y. Super. Ct. 531. In the practice of appellate tribunals, the word “record” is generally understood to mean the history of the proceedings on the trial of the action below, (with the pleadings, offers, objections to evidence, rulings of the court, exceptions, charge, etc.,) in so far as the same appears in the record furnished to the appellate court in the paper-books or other transcripts. Hence, derivatively, It means the aggregate of the various judicial steps taken on the trial below, in so far as they were taken, presented, or allowed in the formal and proper manner necessary to put them upon the record of the court This is the meaning in such phrases as “no error in the record,” “contents of the record,” “outside the record,” etc.


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