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Recognizance

cognizor, court and sheriff

RECOGNIZANCE is an obligation of record, entered into before some court of record, or magistrate duly authorised, by which the party entering into it (the cog nizor), whose signature is not necessary, acknowledges (recognizes) that he owes a sum of money to the king, or to some private individual, who is called the cog nizee. This sum is named the amount of the recognizance. The acknowledgment is generally followed by an undertaking on the part of the cognizor to do some act, such as to keep the peace, to pay a sum of money, to attend to give evidence, and the like. On the performance of this act, the cognizor is discharged from his re cognizance. On his default, the recogni zance is forfeited, and he becomes in debted absolutely to the amount of the recognizance. A debt on recognizance takes precedence of other debts, and binds the lands of the cognizor from the time of its enrolment. If the recognizance is made to a private individual in the nature of a statute staple, for instance, he may on its forfeiture, by virtue of process directed to the sheriff, obtain delivery of the lands and goods of the cognizor till the debt is satisfied, or proceed against the cognizor in an action of debt, or by scire facias. If the recognizance is made

to the king, it was formerly, in all cases of forfeiture, estreated into the exchequer, and afterwards recovered by process from that court to the use of the treasury. But now, in the cases of forfeited recogni zances taken before the court of quarter sessions, or justices of the peace, provision is made by scats. 3 Geo. 1V. c. 46, and 4 Geo. IV. c. 37, for their enrolment among the sessions records, and their immediate recovery by the sheriff. A list of the amounts, &c. is yearly returned by the clerks of the peace and town-clerks for their districts respectively, to the lords of the treasury. A power of appeal by the cognizor against the forfeiture is given to the sessions, and the sheriff is not to levy on the cognizor till the appeal has been decided. Where a recognizance has been estreated into the exchequer, that court may discharge or compound it according to the justice of the case. (Comyns, Dig.," Recognizance," Dalton ; 2 Black stone, Coin.; Burn's Justice.)