Legal Definition of Declaration

A declaration is a written statement submitted to a court in which the writer swears 'under penalty of perjury' that the contents are true.4 min read


A declaration is a written statement submitted to a court in which the writer swears 'under penalty of perjury' that the contents are true. That is, the writer acknowledges that if he is lying, he may be prosecuted for perjury. Declarations are normally used in place of live testimony when the court is asked to rule on a motion.

A typical declaration sets forth the factual assertions of the person signing it (called the declarant) and ends with a statement worded like this one: 'I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct, and would be my testimony if I were in a court of law.' The date and place of signing are usually included.

Some states allow declarations to be used in the place of affidavits, thus avoiding a trip to the notary public.

What is Included in a Declaration?

A declaration is a specification, in a methodical and logical form, of the circumstances which constitute the plaintiff's cause of action. In real actions, it is most properly called the count; in a personal one, the declaration. The latter, however, is now the general term; being that commonly used when referring to real and personal actions without distinction.

The declaration in an action at law answers to the bill in chancery, the libel of the civilians, and the allegation of the ecclesiastical courts.

It may be considered with reference:

  1. To those general requisites or qualities which govern the whole declaration;
  2. To its form, particular parts, and requisites.

Qualities of a Declaration

The general requisites or quali- ties of a declaration are first, that it correspond with the process. But, according to the present practice of the courts, oyer of the writ cannot be craved; and a variance between the writ and declaration cannot be pleaded in abatement.

Secondly. The second general requisite of a declaration is, that it contain a statement of all the facts necessary in point of law, to sustain the action, and no more.

  1. Thirdly. These circumstances must be stated with certainty and truth. The certainty necessary in a declaration is, to a certain intent in general, which should pervade the whole declaration, and is particularly required in setting forth: The parties; it must be stated with certainty who are the parties to the suit, and therefore a declaration by or against 'C D and Company,' not being a corporation, is insufficient.
  2. The time; in personal actions the declaration must, in general, state a time when every material or traversable fact happened; and when a venue is necessary, time must also, be mentioned. The precise time, however, is not material unless it constitutes a material part of the contract declared upon, or where the date, etc., of a written contract or record, is averred.