Verbal Act Doctrine Law and Legal Definition
Verbal act doctrine admits in evidence, the statements that are offered to give meaning to an ambiguous act. Under the verbal act doctrine, it is allowed to ascertain the complete significance of a person's conduct by listening to what s/he said while doing the act. According to the doctrine, an act as a whole consists of a conduct-part and a verbal-part and the verbal-part may be put in as completing the conduct-part. The conduct and the verbal utterance must be made by the same person. The verbal act doctrine is a firmly rooted exception to the hearsay rule. The verbal act doctrine comes under the first heading of res gestae rule.
The conduct’s legal purport can be more precisely ascertained by considering the words accompanying it. Thus, the utterance enters as a verbal part of the act or a verbal act. [Broadus v. State, 540 So. 2d 786, 787-788 (Ala. Crim. App. 1988]