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In law, obligation entered into before a court or magistrate requiring the performance of an act (e.g., appearance in court), usually under penalty of a money forfeiture. The most common use of recognizance is in connection with bail in criminal cases. The accused may also be released on his own recognizance when no bail is required.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on recognizance, visit Britannica.com.