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

Definition of DOCUMENT

An instrument on which is recorded, by means of letters, figures, or marks, matter which may be evidentially used. In this sense the term "document" applies to writings; to words printed, lithographed, or photographed; to seals, plates, or stones on which inscriptions are cut or engraved; to photographs and pictures: to mans or plans. The inscription may be of stone or gems, or on wood, as well as on paper or parchment. 1 Whart. Ev. § 614; Johnson Steel Street Rail Co. v. North Branch Steel Co., C.C.Pa., 48 F. 194; Arnold v. Water Co., 18 R.I. 189, 26 A. 55, 19 L.R.A. 602. It has various statutory meanings. Hays v. Hinkle, Tex.Civ.App., 193 S.W. 153, 155; Cohn v. U. S., C.C.A.N.Y., 258 F. 355, 361; Smith v. Lingelbach, 177 Wis. 170, 187 N.W. 1007, 1008.

In the plural, the deeds, agreements, title-papers, letters, receipts, and other written instruments used to prove a fact.

In the Civil Law

Evidence delivered in the forms established by law; of whatever nature such evidence may be. The term is, however, applied principally to the testimony of witnesses. Say. Dr. Rom. § 165.

In General

Ancient documents. Deeds, wills, and other writings more than thirty years old are so called; they are presumed to be genuine without express. proof, when coming from the proper custody.

Foreign document. One which was prepared or executed in, or which comes from, a foreign state or country.

Judicial documents. Proceedings relating to litigation. They are divided into (1) judgments, decrees, and verdicts; (2) depositions, examinations, and inquisitions taken in the course of a legal process; (3) writs, warrants, pleadings, etc., which are incident to any judicial proceedings. See 1 Starkie, Ev. 252.

Public document. A state paper, or other instrument of public importance or interest, issued or published by authority of congress or a state. legislature. Also, any document or record, evidencing or connected with the public business or the administration of public affairs, preserved in or issued by any department of the government. See Hammatt v. Emerson, 27 Me. 335, 46 Am. Dec. 598. One of the publications printed by order of congress or either house thereof. McCall v. U. S., 1 Dak. 328, 46 N.W. 608. Broadly, any document open to public inspection. Flint v. Stone Tracy Co., 220 U.S. 107, 31 S.Ct. 342, 55 L.Ed.. 389, Ann.Cas.1912B, 1312.

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