A bill of exceptions is a legal law. The definition of a bill of exceptions is when a legal pleading is filed that is about a complaint on an appeal that would not be on record for the matter. This statement is concerning a disagreement, that is given to a judge to look over and objects a decision that has been made. A certain form or amount of words are not needed on a bill of exceptions. The trial court needs to know about the complaint by the information specifically stated in the bill of exceptions to be valid.

Bill of Exceptions

The bill of exceptions can be used as evidence once it's in the records as such. The judge can sign and file the bill with the trial court clerk once all parties are in agreement with what is stated in the bill of exceptions. The purpose of the bill of exceptions is to question the law, especially to make aware a mistake that has been made. The Westminster 2, 13 Ed. I. c. 31 allows the bill of exceptions, which is followed all the states in the Union.

Bill Details

The bill is made as follows:

  • "When one impleaded before any of the justices, alleges an exception praying they will allow it, and if they will not, if he that alleges the exception writes the same, and requires 'that the justices will put their seals, the justices shall do so, and if one will not, another, shall;"
  • "And if, upon complaint made of the justice, the king cause the record to come before him, and the exception be not found in the roll, and the plaintiff show the written exception, with the seal of the justices thereto put, the justice shall be commanded to appear at a certain day, either to confess or deny his seal, and if he cannot deny his seal, they shall proceed to judgment according to the exception, as it ought to be allowed or disallowed."

The law applies to both the defendant and plaintiff. Burr details the bill of exceptions form in 1692. Previous similar cases include:

  • Bull. N. P. 317
  • Brownlow's Entries; Latine Redivio
  • 129; Trials per pais
  • 222, 3; 4 Yeates, 317
  • 18; 2 Yeates
  • 295, 6. 485
  • 6; 1 Morgan's Vade Mecum
  • 471-5

Special verdicts are a little different materially than bills of exception, as stated in 2 Bin. 92. There are also differences in the court opinions which should be filed, as stated in 10 S. & R. 114, 15.

The following will be considered:

  • Bill of exception cases that are valid
  • The time it takes to make the exception
  • The bill's form
  • The bill's effect

A bill of exception can only be used in a civil case. A judge may have to seal a bill of exceptions if he or she is found at fault for making a wrong decision in a court of law, whether the decision was made to the jury or while making a verdict in court. A bill of exceptions does not have to be sealed by a judge in criminal cases. In New York, the defendant can file a bill of exceptions for the trial of any charge. The bill needs to be signed, sealed, and filed with the clerk of the court.


Judgment can still be made on the defendant, except in some specific cases. Exceptions in criminal cases can be made in some states where there are statutory provisions made. The bill of exceptions has to be filed before the jury decides the verdict on the case. The bill is then noted and settled after the jury's decision is made. The judge can seal the bill of exceptions after he or she is out of office or once the record has been taken off by a writ of error.

The judge of the case has to sign the bill of exception. Once the bill of exception is sealed, the issue between the two parties ends as well. Evidence for the parties is in the bill of exceptions. Details that don't appear on the bill, such as exceptions and objections, can be tried.

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