Formality Law and Legal Definition

Formality means a small point of practice that, though apparently insignificant, must generally be observed to achieve a particular legal result.

The term was used to describe the robes worn by magistrates on solemn occasions.

Under Copy right law, formality referred to a procedural requirement formerly required before receiving U.S. copyright protection. The process of obtaining a copyright includes formalities like (1) a copyright notice appearing on the work, (2) actual publication, (3) registration with the copyright office, and (4) deposit of the work with the Library of Congress. At present no formalities are required, although registration remains a prerequisite for an infringement suit by U.S. authors.

Formality also means the conditions which must be observed in making contracts, and the words which the law gives to be used in order to render them valid.

It also signifies the conditions which the law requires to make regular proceedings. For example, holding and recording of minutes for meetings, or elections; preservation of corporation's articles and by-laws are part of corporate formalities.