Definition - What does Recognizance mean?

Recognizance is a promise that an individual makes to the court. Once a recognizance is made, then the person who made it is obligated to hold true to it and fulfill the promise, otherwise legal consequences could follow.

Recognizances are made by people who have a legal obligation to make the promise in the first place.

Justipedia explains Recognizance

There are a number of situations that could force a person to make a recognizance. For example, if a debtor has not paid a debt to a creditor, then they could be forced to make a recognizance to avoid punishment. In such a recognizance, the debtor may promise to pay the debt within 90 days. If the debt is not paid within 90 days, then the assets of the debtor could be seized.

Recognizances are also commonly made in criminal law, where a defendant promises to appear at the court on a certain date, or else have their bail money forfeited to the court.

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