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Why is Perjury in domestic civil law cases allowed and not prosecuted?

Massachusetts |

If someone knowingly commits perjury by false affidavit, and additionally in oral statements before the bench, in outrageous verifiable statement of fact, why is this generally not something that people are held accountable for?

I understand that most lawyers will state that, "Well crazy things are said every day in these proceedings".......however if material provably false statements are made that could affect a judges decision shouldn't that person be held accountable for lying?

Is there any recourse if this has happened?

Thank You Attorney Myers, that makes perfect sense. Cross examination and the other things you mention expose and can defeat the untruth. This is why one should never go to court without a lawyer. I used the word allowed in the wrong context. Thank You Atty Pang, my lawyer is preparing the application.

Attorney Answers 2


  1. Best answer

    You do have the option to file a private party complaint alleging that the other person committed perjury. It will cost you $15 to file such a complaint. The application for complaint will ask you to be specific as to the facts that support your allegation of perjury. Before filing such an application, order a tape of the alleged perjured testimony and have the evidence needed to prove that the person lied under oath to file with the application for complaint. While clerk-magistrates are quick to issue a complaint when the applicant is a police officer, you may find that when the applicant is an aggrieved civilian, the probable cause standard seems to go up. Be prepared for that, or have an attorney assist you in filling out the application for complaint and preparing the exhibits.

    The reason that so perjury happens is because the police or the prosecutor don't charge the lying witness. Private parties such as yourself can and should apply for private party complaints when you encounter perjury, and hopefully the prevailing practices will change.


  2. Perjury is not accepted, nor should it ever be allowed. Affidavits can be challenged and countered with a range of options including motions to strike and the filing of affidavits which present facts disputing the initial affidavit. Testimony in domestic cases, and all cases, is always subject to cross examination, which if done by a skilled attorney will reveal the lie, and then some. Trial attorneys have a saying where I come from that "at trial, the truth has a way of rearing its ugly head."

    There should never be purjury in any case, domestic or otherwise. So, I disagree that perjury is "allowed".

    This answer is offered for informational purposes only. It is not offered as, and does not constitute, legal advice. Laws vary widely from state to state. You should rely only on the advice given to you during a personal consultation by a local attorney who is thoroughly familiar with state laws and the area of practice in which your concern lies.