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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2850
Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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Can a picture be a legal document?

Resolved Question:

Can a picture be a legal document?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alice H replied 2 years ago.
My name is***** and I'm happy to help with your question today.
It really depends on what is depicted in the picture and what it is going to be used for. Can you explain the situation in a little more detail?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
THanks. for this. I am an art historian researching a pair of portraits made in the 1780s of a couple who later married. The lady was then married to the man who paid for both paintings! The setting refers to the family name of the first husband which was to be taken by her second husband who would live in the house visible in the background, but who the marriage settlement makes clear would not own the estate. One thing the couple in the painting and the painter had in common was that their fathers and brothers were all attorneys. This made me think the painting could be both a betrothal and some kind of evidence of an undertaking. However, I have so far in my reading of legal history not found any evidence of a picture being used as a legal document.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I still have no answer to my clarification of my query below!
Expert:  Alice H replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for your patience.
I have taken some time to consider your question and do some research of my own using Lexis and Westlaw databases.
The end result is that a legal document has to be a formally executed document which expressly records acts, obligations or rights etc.
It would be very difficult to argue that the picture you mention expressly records some legal obligation or right.
Furthermore there is no statute or case law that supports the contention that a picture of the kind you have identified could properly be regarded as a legal document.
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