Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition and Ballentine's Law Dictionary as are available for each term in each dictionary.
  • Ballentine's Law Dictionary

    Legal fitness or qualification.

  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    In the law of evidence. The presenco of those characteristics or the absence of those disabilities, which render a witness legally fit and qualified to give testimony in a court of justico. The term is also applied, in the same sense, to documents or other written evidence. Competency differs from credibility. The former is a question which arises before considering the evidence given by the witness; the latter concerns the degrce of credit to be given to his story. The former denotes the personal qualification of the witness; the latter his veracity. A witness may Be competent, and yet give incredible testimony; he may be incompetent, and yet his evidence, if received, be perfectly credible. Competency is for the court; credibllity for the jury. Yet in some cases the term "credible" is used as an equivalent for "competent." Thus, in a statute relating to the execution of wills, the term "credible witness" is held to mean one who is entitled to be examined and to give evidence in a court of justice; not necessarily one who is personally worthy of belief, but one who is not disqualified by imbecility, interest, crime, or other cause. 1 Jarm. Wills, 124; Smith v. Jones, 68 Vt 132, 34 Atl. 424; Com. v. Holmes, 127 Mass. 424, 34 Am. Rep. 391. In French law. Competency, as applied to a court, means its right to exercise jurisdiction in a particular case.