Perjury Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Perjury, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Perjury?

It is a crime of giving a false information or statement which was testified under the oath, either in writing or orally pertaining to an important official proceedings whose result may be influenced by these intentional declarations. A perjuror may commit this crime in court of law or other administrative works like affidavits, deeds, licences etc.

History and Meaning of Perjury

Perjury is a serious crime that has been taken seriously since ancient times. The term "perjury" comes from the Latin word "perjurium," which means "to swear falsely." It is defined as the act of willfully and knowingly making a false statement under oath with respect to a material matter.

This offense is often committed in the course of legal proceedings, including trials, depositions, and affidavits. It can occur either in writing or orally and can include lies about an important detail or full false information.

Examples of Perjury

Here are some common scenarios where perjury can occur:

  • A defendant lying on the witness stand during a trial
  • A defendant lying on a signed affidavit
  • A witness providing false testimony during a trial
  • A person lying during a sworn deposition

Perjury can occur in any context where someone is under oath and provides false information.

Legal Terms Similar to Perjury

Some terms that are similar to perjury include:

  • False swearing: This term refers to the act of swearing falsely or lying under oath. It is very similar to perjury, but not limited to official proceedings.
  • Contempt of court: This offense refers to any action that disrespects or obstructs the court's authority, including lying while under oath.
  • False statement: Referring to knowingly making a false statement, not necessarily under oath, that could influence the decision-making process.