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Declaration

united law court statement

The first PLEADING in a lawsuit governed by the rule of COMMON-LAW PLEADING. In the law of evidence, a statement or narration made not under oath but simply in the middle of things, as a part of what is happening. Also, a proclamation.

A declaration is the plaintiff's statement of a claim against the defendant, formally and specifically setting out the facts and circumstances that make up the case. It generally is broken into several sections, which describe the different counts of the CAUSE OF ACTION. The declaration should give the title of the action, the court and place of trial, the basis for the claim, and the relief demanded. The defendant then answers with a plea. Common-law pleading has been abolished in the United States, and modern systems of CODE PLEADING and rules based on federal CIVIL PROCEDURE now provide for a complaint to accomplish the same purpose as did the declaration in former times.

Under some circumstances, statements made out of court by one person may be repeated in court by someone else even though the HEARSAY rule ordinarily forbids secondhand testimony. For example, a DYING DECLARATION

On December 8, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signs the Congressional Declaration of War on Japan.
NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION

is a statement in which a HOMICIDE victim names his or her killer on his or her deathbed. If the victim had known who had attacked him or her, had abandoned all hope of recovery, and had in fact died of the wounds, a person who heard the dying declaration can repeat it in court at the time the killer is brought to trial. The theory is that a deceased person would not have lied just before dying.

A declaration against interest is another type of statement received into evidence even though it is being repeated by someone who heard it out of court. It is any comment that admits something harmful to the rights of the person who made the statement. For example, a driver says to his or her passenger just before the car misses a curve and ends up in a ditch, "I know the brakes are bad, but don't worry." Later when suing to recover compensation for injuries, the passenger can testify that he or she heard the driver make a declaration against his or her interest even though that testimony is hearsay.

Customs law requires all persons entering the United States to provide officers with a list of merchandise they are bringing into the country. This list is also called a declaration.

Real property laws in various states require the filing of statements to disclose plans that establish certain rights in particular buildings or parcels. For example, a homeowners' association formed by neighbors to maintain a recreation center owned by all of them together may file a declaration of covenants. A builder may be required to file a declaration of condominium before beginning to sell new units.

As a preliminary step before becoming naturalized U.S. citizens, ALIENS must file a declaration of intention which states that they are honestly trying to become citizens and that they formally renounce all allegiance to any other nation where they were ever citizens or subjects.

The Declaration of Independence was a formal announcement on July 4, 1776, by which the Continental Congress of the United States of America proclaimed the independence of the people of the colonies from the rule of Great Britain. It explained the reasons for their assertion of political autonomy and announced to the world that the United States was a free and independent nation.

INTERNATIONAL LAW recognized that nations may formally and publicly proclaim a condition of armed conflict by a declaration of war, which in effect forbids all persons to aid or assist the enemy. In the United States, the Congress has the authority to declare war, and a declaration fixes a beginning date for the war.

A declaration of a dividend is an act of a corporation in setting aside a portion of net or surplus income for proportional distribution as a dividend to those who hold shares of stock.

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