Code of the District of Columbia

Chapter 5. Documentary Evidence.


§ 14–501. Proof of record.

An exemplification of a record under the hand of the keeper of the record, and the seal of the court or office where the record is made, is good and sufficient evidence to prove a record made or entered in any State, territory, commonwealth or possession of the United States. The certificate of the person purporting to be the keeper of the record, accompanied by the seal, is prima facie evidence of that fact.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 520; Pub. L. 88-241, § 1.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 14-501.

1973 Ed., § 14-501.

Cross References

Certificate of incorporation, presumptive evidence of facts stated in certified copies, see § 29-201.36.

Corporate stock books, presumptive evidence of facts, see § 29-201.26.

Department of Insurance and Securities Regulation records, certified copies as evidence, see § 3-3616.

Domestic life insurance company, presumptive evidence of facts contained in stock book, see § 31-4415.

Fraternal benefit association, articles of association as prima facie evidence of existence and due incorporation, see § 31-5709.

Fraternal benefit association, original policies of liability of successor corporation as prima facie evidence upon division of insurance business, see § 31-5725.

Insurance superintendent, effect of authentication of papers, see § 31-4301.

Public Utilities Commission, transcribed copy of proceedings, admissibility as evidence, see § 43-622.


§ 14–502. Records of deeds, instruments, and wills.

Under the hand of the keeper of a record and the seal of the court or office in which the record was made:

(1) a copy of the record of a deed, or other written instrument not of a testamentary character, where the laws of the State, territory, commonwealth, possession or country where it was recorded require such a record, and that has been recorded agreeably to those laws; and

(2) a copy of a will that the laws require to be admitted to probate and record by judicial decree, and of the decree of the court admitting the will to probate and record —

are good and sufficient prima facie evidence to prove the existence and contents of the deed, will, or other written instrument, and that it was executed as it purports to have been executed.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 521, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 14-502.

1973 Ed., § 14-502.

Cross References

Irregular deeds legalized, see § 42-408.

Surveyor’s records, transcript, see § 1-1311.


§ 14–503. Record of will as prima facie evidence of contents and execution.

A record of a will or codicil recorded in the office of the Register of Wills of the District of Columbia, that has been admitted to probate by a court in the District of Columbia, or a record of the transcript of the record and probate of a will or codicil elsewhere, or of a certified copy thereof filed in the office of the Register of Wills, is prima facie evidence of the contents and due execution of the will or codicil.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 521, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 553, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 143(5).)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 14-503.

1973 Ed., § 14-503.


§ 14–504. Force in District of Columbia of wills probated elsewhere.

A record in the office of the Register of Wills for the District of Columbia of a duly certified copy, or transcript of the record of proceedings, admitting a will or codicil to probate outside of the District of Columbia; and a record in that office of a will or codicil admitted to probate in the District before June 8, 1898, and not annulled or declared void according to law prior to June 8, 1898, shall be deemed and held as of the same force and effect as if the will or codicil had been duly proved and admitted to probate and record pursuant to sections 19-301 to 19-303 [§ 19-303 repealed].


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 521, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 14-504.

1973 Ed., § 14-504.

References in Text

Sections 19-301 to 19-303, referred to at the end of this section, were repealed by the Act of September 14, 1965, 79 Stat. 780, Pub. L. 89-183, § 8.


§ 14–505. Municipal ordinances and regulations.

Municipal ordinances and regulations in force in the District of Columbia may be proved by producing in evidence a copy thereof certified as provided by the Commissioner [Mayor]; and the certified copy is prima facie evidence of the due adoption and promulgation of the ordinances and regulations.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 521, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 553, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 143(6).)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 14-505.

1973 Ed., § 14-505.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made, in brackets, in this section.


§ 14–506. Certified mail return receipts as prima facie evidence of delivery.

Return receipts for the delivery of certified mail which is utilized under any provision of law shall be received in the courts as prima facie evidence of delivery to the same extent as return receipts for registered mail.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 521, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 14-506.

1973 Ed., § 14-506.


§ 14–507. Other methods of proof.

This chapter does not prevent the proof of records or other documents by any method authorized by other laws or rules of court.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 521, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 14-507.

1973 Ed., § 14-507.