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A journal is a book in which entries are made or events are recorded on a daily basis. Some common uses of the term “journal” in a legal sense include:

  • In the context of statutes, a journal is a daily record of the proceedings and transactions of a legislative body or an organization. For example, Art. I, Section 5, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution directs that “each House shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as may in their judgment require secrecy; and the yeas and nays of the members of either House on any question shall, at the desire of one fifth of those present, be entered on the journal.”
  • In the context of maritime law, a journal is a book kept on board a ship/vessel, which contains an account of the ship’s course during the voyage. 

[Last updated in July of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team