Definition of DECLARATION in Black's Law Dictionary 4th Edition – Legal dictionary – Glossary of legal terms.

Definition of DECLARATION

In Pleading

The first of the pleadings on the part of the plaintiff in an action at law, being a formal and methodical specification of the facts and circumstances constituting his cause of action. It commonly comprises several sections or divisions, called "counts," and its formal parts follow each other in this order: Title, venue, commencement, cause of action, counts, conclusion. The declaration, at common law, answers to the "libel" in ecclesiastical and admiralty law, the "bill" in equity, the "petition" in civil law, the "complaint" in code pleading, and the "count" in real actions. U. S. v. Ambrose, 108 U.S. 336, 2 S.Ct. 682, 27 L.Ed. 746; Railway Co. v. Nugent, 86 Md. 349, 38 A. 779, 39 L.R.A. 161; Dixon v. Sturgeon, 6 Serg. & R. (Pa.) 28; 1 Chit.Pl. 248; Co.Litt. 17 a, 303 a; Bacon, Abr. Pleas (B) ; Comyns, Dig. Pleader, C, 7; Lawes, Pl. 35; Steph.Pl. 36; Leslie v. Mendelson, 302 Mich. 95, 4 N.W.2d 481, 484.

It may be general or special: for example, in debt on a bond, a declaration counting on the penal part only is general; one which sets out both the bond and the condition and assigns the breach is special; Gould, Pl. c. 4, § 50.

In Evidence

An unsworn statement or narration of facts made by a party to the transaction, or by one who has an interest in the existence of the facts recounted. Also, similar statements made by a person since deceased, which are admissible in evidence in some cases, contrary to the general rule, e. g., "dying declarations" (see that subtitle, infra).

In Practice

The declaration or declaratory part of a judgment, decree, or order is that part which gives the decision or opinion of the court on the question of law in the case. Thus, in an action raising a question as to the construction of a will, the judgment or order declares that, according to the true construction of the will, the plaintiff has become entitled to the residue of the testator's estate, or the like. Sweet.

In Scotch Practice

The statement of a criminal or prisoner, taken before a magistrate. 2 Alis. Crim. Pr. 555; 2 Hume 328; Arkl. Just. 70; Paterson, Comp. §1 952, 970.

In General

A "declaration" is a statement made out of court. Dawson v. Davis, 125 Conn. 330, 5 A.2d 703, 704.

Declaration against interest. Such declarations are evidence of the fact declared, and are therefore distinct from admissions, which amount to a waiver of proof. Jelser v. White, 183 N.C. 126, 110 S.E. 849, 850. They are statements which, when made, conflict with the pecuniary interest of the person making them, who need not have been a party, privy or witness to the suit in which they are offered. Elliotte v. Lavier, 299 Mich. 373, 300 N.W. 116, 118.

Declaration in chief. A declaration for the principal cause of action. 1 Tidd, Pr. 419.

Declaration of dividend. The act of a corporation in setting aside a portion of the net or surplus proceeds for distribution among the stockholders according to their respective interests. First Nat. Bank & Trust Co. v. Glenn, D.C.Ky., 36 F.Supp. 552, 554. See, also, Dividend.

Declaration of homestead. A creature of, and its validity depends upon, compliance with homestead statute. It is merely an act of the owner whereby he avails himself of, and secures, a right or privilege given him by statute; it is neither a conveyance nor a contract, and there is no transfer of, or change in, title, nor any agreement of transfer or change. U. S. Fidelity & Guaranty Co. v, Adloway, 173 Wash. 404, 23 P.2d 408. See, also, Homestead.

Declaration of independence. A formal declaration or announcement, promulgated July 4, 1776, by the congress of the United States of America, in the name and behalf of the people of the colonies, asserting and proclaiming their independence of the British crown, vindicating their pretensions to political autonomy, and anouncing themselves to the world as a free and independent nation.

Declaration of intention. A declaration made by an alien, as a preliminary to naturalization, before a court of record, to the effect that it is his intention in good faith to become a citizen of the United States, and to renounce forever all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty whereof at the time he may be a citizen or subject. 8 U.S.C.A. § 731.

Declaration of right. See Bill of Rights.

Declaration of trust. The act by which the person who holds the legal title to property or an estate acknowledges and declares that he holds the same in trust to the use of another person or for certain specified purposes. The name is also used to designate the deed or other writing embodying such a declaration. Griffith v. Maxfield, 66 Ark. 513, 51 S.W. 832. See Baker v. Baker, 123 Md. 32, 90 A. 776, 779 (bank deposit) ; Del Giorgio v. Powers, 27 Ca1.App.2d 668, 81 P.2d 1006, 1012 (mining claim) ; Bingen v. First Trust Co. of St. Paul, C.C.A.Minn., 103 F.2d 260, 264 (letter).

Declaration of war. A public and formal proclamation by a nation, through its executive or legislative department, that a state of war exists between itself and another nation, and forbidding all persons to aid or assist the enemy.

An act of Congress is necessary to the commencement of a foreign war and is in itself a "declaration" and fixes the date of the war. West v. Palmetto State Life Ins. Co., 202 S.C. 422, 25 S.E.2d 475, 477, 145 A.L.R. 1461; Rosenau v. Idaho Mut. Ben. Ass'n, 65 Idaho 408, 145 P.2d 227, 230.

Dying declarations. Statements made by a person who is lying at the point of death, and is conscious of his approaching dissolution, in reference to the manner in which he received the injuries of which he is dying, or other immediate cause of his death, and in reference to the person who inflicted such injuries or the connection with such injuries of a person who is charged or suspected of having committed them; which statements are admissible in evidence in a trial for homicide (and occasionally, at least in some jurisdictions, in other cases) where the killing of the declarant is the crime charged to the defendant. Shepard v. U. S., Kan., 290 U.S. 96, 54 S.Ct. 22, 78 L.Ed. 196; See generally Simons v. People, 150 Ill. 66, 36 N.E. 1019; Frier v. State, 92 Fla. 241, 109 So. 334, 335; Lucas v. Commonwealth, 153 Ky. 424, 155 S.W. 721, 722; Edwards v. State, 113 Neb. 698, 204 N.W. 780, 783; People v. Selknes, 309 Ill. 113, 140 N.E. 852, 854. Also Barsch v. Hammond, 110 Colo. 441, 135 P.2d 519, 521 (motorist); Waller v. Commonwealth, 178 Va. 294, 16 S.E.2d 808, 813 (shooting) ; State v. Brown, 209 Minn. 478, 296 N.W. 582, 586 (abortion).

Statements made by deceased while on operating table were inadmissible as "dying declarations" where there was no statement by deceased himself that he knew that death was approaching. People v. Hall, 260 App.Div. 421, 22 N.Y. S.2d 973, 976.

Self-serving declaration. One made by a party in his own interest at some time and place out of court;-not including testimony which he gives as witness at the trial. Brosnan v. Boggs, 101 Or. 472, 198 P. 890, 892.

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