Is there a term in Law for when someone signs a document as true when said individual is under the belief that the contents of the document are untrue?

For example, if I was asked to sign a document that says "the sky is green", and I saw the sky that morning and it was blue. Signing this document would amount to (insert term here).


If you are under oath it is called perjury. If you are not under oath it is called lying.

  • 2
    Note that for this to be perjury, the false claim would have to be material. It's hard to imagine a case in which the color of the sky would be material. Dec 15 '15 at 0:13
  • So, is someone signing a document or contract under oath? Dec 15 '15 at 0:31
  • 1
    Generally, no. An affidavit or statutory declaration is made under oath.
    – Dale M
    Dec 15 '15 at 0:34
  • 1
    You can only perjure yourself when under oath or attesting before the court. If you're not in that scenario, it's probably "false witness" that the OP is looking for.
    – dwoz
    Dec 15 '15 at 16:07

Signing this document would amount to free speech.

There are circumstances, as comments have said, where we are not allowed to lie. But these circumstances are circumscribed - such as speech under penalty of perjury, attesting to facts under a regulatory rule (signing certain financial documents), etc. Of course, lies about facially mundane things like your address or how long you've lived a place are fraudulent if circumstances align.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.