Legal Definition of Record
A written memorial made by a public officer authorized by law to perform that function, and intended to serve as evidence of something written, said, or done.2 min read
A written account of all the acts and proceedings in a lawsuit.
A written memorial made by a public officer authorized by law to perform that function, and intended to serve as evidence of something written, said, or done.
Types of Records
Records may be divided into those which relate to the proceedings of congress and the state legislatures, the courts of common law - the courts of chancery - and those which are made so by statutory provisions.
- Legislative acts. The acts of congress and of the several legislatures are the highest kind of records. The printed journals of congress have been so considered.
- The proceedings of the courts of common law are records. But every minute made by a clerk of a court for his own future guidance in making up his record, is not a record.
- Proceedings in courts of chancery are said not to be, strictly speaking, records; but they are so considered.
- The legislatures of the several states have made the enrollment of certain deeds and other documents necessary in order to perpetuate the memory of the facts they contain, and declared that the copies thus made should have the effect of records.
The Constitution of the United States, Art. IV., declares that "full faith and credit shall be given, in each state, to the public acts, records and judicial proceedings of every other state; and the congress may, by general laws, prescribe the manner in which such acts, records and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof." In pursuance of this power, congress have passed several acts directing the manner of authenticating public records, which will be found under the article Authentication.
The Act of Making a Record
Sometimes questions arise as to when the act of recording is complete, as in the following case. A deed of real estate was acknowledged before the register of deeds and handed to him to be recorded, and at the same instant a creditor of the grantor attached the real estate; in this case it was held the act of recording was incomplete without a certificate of the acknowledgment, and wanting that, the attaching creditor had the preference.
The fact of an instrument being recorded is held to operate as a constructive notice upon all subsequent purchasers of any estate, legal or equitable, in the same property.
But all conveyances and deeds which may be de facto recorded, are not to be considered as giving notice; in order to have this effect the instruments must be such as are authorized to be recorded, and the registry must have been made in compliance with the law, otherwise the registry is to be treated as a mere nullity, and it will not affect a subsequent purchaser or encumbrancer unless he has such actual notice as would amount to a fraud.