Recital (law)

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In law, a recital (from Latin: recitare, "to read out"[1]) consists of an account or repetition of the details of some act, proceeding or fact. Particularly, in law, that part of a legal document—such as a lease, which contains a statement of certain facts—contains the purpose for which the deed is made.[2]

In European Union law, a recital is a text that sets out reasons for the provisions of an act, while avoiding normative language and political argumentation.[3] A recital may also appear at the end of a document,[citation needed] as some 170 have in the new GDPR.[4][failed verification] Recitals have been demonstrated to play a limited role in the interpretation of Union legislation in the courts in the case of ambiguity in a particular provision within the legislation.[5]

By convention, most recitals start with the word Whereas.

A recital can, and should, be taken into account when interpreting the meaning of a contractual agreement.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Recite". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (Fourth ed.). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 2008.
  2. ^ "Recital". A law dictionary : adapted to the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, and of the several states of the American union, with references to the civil and other systems of foreign law. Vol. II (Fifteenth ed.). Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott. 1883. pp. 517–518.
  3. ^ "Recitals". The European Union. Archived from the original on 2011-03-17. Retrieved 2011-05-09.
  4. ^ "What is a GDPR Recital?". market intelligence newsletter publisher. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  5. ^ Klimas, Tadas and Vaiciukaite, Jurate, The Law of Recitals in European Community Legislation (July 14, 2008). ILSA Journal of International & Comparative Law, Vol. 15, 2008. Available at SSRN:
  6. ^ Standstill agreements: lessons in drafting from (1) Exsus Travel Limited (2) Coronation Limited v (1) Baker Tilly (2) Baker Tilly Audit LLP [2016] EWHC 2818 (Ch), accessed 27 December 2016