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recognizance

An undertaking by an offender (or by sureties on his behalf) to forfeit a sum of money under certain conditions. Recognizances may be entered into to answer to judgment, i.e. to appear before the court for pronouncement of judgment on a specified date. This procedure may be appropriate if the accused wishes to appeal against conviction. Alternatively, recognizances may be used in addition to or in place of any other sentence or judgment, the offender being obligated to keep the peace and be of good behaviour. Magistrates have wide powers of binding over upon recognizances under the Justices of the Peace Act 1361 and the Magistratesí Courts Act 1980; they may punish failure to comply with the order with imprisonment. See *keeping the peace.

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