French law. A true relation in writing in due form of law of what has been done and said verbally in the presence of a public officer, and what he himself does upon the occasion. It is a species of inquisition of office.
The proces verbal should be dated, contain the name, qualities, and residence of the public functionary who makes it, the cause of complaint, the existence of the crime, that which serves to substantiate the charge, point out its nature, the time, the place, the circumstances, state the proofs and presumptions, describe the place, in a word, everything calculated to ascertain the truth. It must be signed by the officer.