In some common law nations, a recognizance is a conditional obligation undertaken by a person before a court. It is an obligation of record, entered into before a court or magistrate duly authorized, whereby the party bound acknowledges (recognizes) that they owe a personal debt to the state. A recognizance is subject to a "defeasance "; that is, the obligation will be avoided if person bound does some particular act, such as appearing in court on a particular day, or keeping the peace. The concept of a recognizance exists in Scotland, Hong Kong, Canada and the United States. People who are released on their own recognizance are subject to appearing before a judge on a certain day in the near future.