Public-Records Doctrine Law and Legal Definition

Public records doctrine is a principle applicable in many U.S states which allows a third person acquiring or interested in real or immovable property to rely on the face of relevant public records without investigating further for unrecorded interests.

The public records doctrine does not prevent a third party from contractually agreeing by express language to subordinate its interest to interests that would otherwise be inferior. [K.E. Resources v. BMO Fin. (In re Century Offshore Mgmt. Corp.), 119 F.3d 409 (6th Cir. Ky. 1997)]

The following is an example of a state statute (Louisiana) on Public records doctrine:

Louisiana law requires that specified types of instruments be filed in the public records if they are to affect the rights of third persons. This concept is known as the Public Records Doctrine and is stated in the Civil Code Ancillaries as follows “No sale, contract, counter letter, lien, mortgage, judgment, surface lease, oil, gas or mineral lease, or other instrument of writing relating to or affecting immovable property shall be binding on or affect third persons or third parties unless and until filed for registry in the office of the parish recorder of the parish where the land or immovable is situated. Neither secret claims or equities nor other matters outside the public records shall be binding on or affect such third parties.” [La. R.S. 9:2721]