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Friday, April 22, 2011

A Dictionary of Law 1893

A Dictionary of Law 1893: Letter A


Abate. To quash, beat down, destroy.
That of abating a writ or action - its overthrow or defeat by some fatal exception to it.

Abatement. Demolition, destruction, diminution, removal, suspension.
In equity practice, a suspension of proceedings in a suit from want of parties capable of proceeding therein.

Abatement of a writ. Quashing or setting it aside on account of some fatal defect in it.(1)
A plea in abatement is one mode. Sometimes it is the duty of the court to abate a writ ex oficio. Where the writ is a nullity, so that judgment thereon would be incurably erroneous, it is de facto abated.(2)
Plea in abatement. Matter of defense which defeats an action for the present, because of a defect in the writ or declaration.(3) Because they are dilatory, pleas in abatement are not favored. Each plea must give a better writ, i.e., show how the writ may be amended.

(1) 3 Blackstone's Commentaries 168, 302.
(2) Case v. Humphrey, 6 Conn. 140 (1826)
(3) 3 Bl. Com. 302, See also Steph. Plead. 47; Gould Plead. 235.

Ab initio. From the beginning. From the inception.
Act of God. Such inevitable accident as cannot be prevented by human care, skill or foresight; but results from natural causes, such as lightning and tempest, floods and foundation. Something superhuman, or something in opposition to the act of man.

Actio. Latin. A doing, performing: an action, or right of action.

Non oritur actio, ex dolo malo. A right of action does not arise out of a fraud.
Non oritur actio, ex nudo pacto. A right of action does not arise out of an engagement without a consideration.
Non oritur actio, ex pacto illicito. A right of action does not arise upon an unlawful agreement.
Non oritur actio, ex turpi causa. A right of action does not arise out of an immoral cause.
Non oritur actio, ex turpi contractu. A right of action does not arise out of an immoral contract.

Action. 2. "The lawful demand of one's right"(1) - in a court of justice.(2)

Common law action. An action maintainable at common law.
Statutory action. Such form of action as is given by legislative enactment.

(1) 3 Bl. Com. 116.
(2) McBride's Appeal, 72 Pa. 483 (1873).
Action in personam. An action against the person.

Action in rem. An action against a thing - an inanimate object out of which satisfaction is sought. See Res, 2.

Actori incumbit probatio. On the plaintiff rests the proving - the "burden of proof".

Actus Dei nomini facit injuriam. An act of God does wrong to no one.

No one is responsible in damages for the result of an inevitable accident.

Actus legis nomini faeit injuriam. An act of the law wrongs no man.

An act of the law is to be so limited in its operations that no right shall be prejudiced.(1)

(1) 2 Bl. Com. 122; 69 Ga. 400; Broom, Max. 127, 409.

Actus non facit reum, nisi mens sit rea. An act does not make a man a criminal, unless his intention be criminal.

To constitute a crime the intent and the act must concur; a mere overt act, without wrongful intention, does not make guilt.(1)

(1) 4 Bl. Com. 2, 21; 4 N.Y. 159, 163, 195; Broom Max. 307.
Address. 2. The name and residence of the drawee in a bill of exchange. See Protest, 2.
Ad pios usus. For religious purposes.

Adult. Latin adultus, grown up. A person twenty-one or more years of age.
Affiliation. Judicial determination of paternity - that a man is the father of a bastard. See Filius.

Alien. Latin alienus, strange, a stranger. 1, noun. One born in a strange country under obedience to a strange prince, or out of the liegeance of the king. One born out of the king's dominion or allegiance.(1)

In California a "non-resident alien" who may take by succession is one who is neither a citizen of the United States nor a resident of that State.

(1) 1 Bl. Com. 373.
Allegiance. French a-legiance, homage. Latin ad-ligare, to tie, bind. The tie, or ligamen, which binds the subject to the king in return for that protection which the king affords the subject.(1)

Natural allegiance. Such allegiance as is due from all men born within the king's dominions, immediately upon their birth. Also called absolute or permanent allegiance.

At common law natural allegiance could not be removed except by permission of the sovereign to whom it was due.(2) This was changed by the act of Congress of July 27, 1868,(3) and by statute of 33 Vict. c. 14, May 10, 1870.

(1) 1 Bl. Com. 366-69; 20 Johns 191-92.
(2) 1 Bl. Com. 369; 2 Kent 419; 8 Op. Att.-Gen. 139; 9 id. 356.
(3) Revised Statutes § 1999.

Allodial. (6) From the low Latin allodium: every man's own land, which he possesses in his own right, without owing any rent or service to a superior - property, in the highest degree. Opposed, feodum, a fee. (7) Wholly independent, and held of no superior. (8) Held in free and absolute ownership. (9)

"All lands . . are declared to be allodial, and feudal tenures are prohibited" - constitution of Wisconsin. This means little more than if the framers had said "free" or "held in free and absolute ownership", as contradistinguished from feudal tenures, the prohibition of which, with their servitudes and attendant hindrances to free and ready transfer of realty, constituted the chief object of the provision. (10) See Fee, 1(1); Tenure, 1.

(6) Ger. al-ód, all one's own: the whole estate. -Skeat.
(7) 2 Blackstone's Commentaries 105.
(8) 2 Bl. Comm. 47, 60.
(9) 3 Kent, 485, 488, 498.
(10) Barker v. Dayton, 28 Wis. 384 (1871), Dixon, C.J. See 1 Washb. R. P. 16, 41; 9 Cow. 513.
Ambassador. See Minister, 3.

Amicus curiæ. A friend of the court. Imports friendly intervention of counsel to remind the court of some matter of law which has escaped its notice and in regard to which it appears to be in danger of going wrong. It is not his function to take upon himself the management of a cause.(1)

(1) Taft v. Northern Transp. Co., 56 N.H. 416 (1876), Cushing, C.J.
Anno Domini. In the year of our Lord. Abbreviated A. D. See Abbreviations; Year.

Atheist. One who disbelieves in the existance of a God who is the rewarder of truth and the avenger of falsehood.(4) See Infidel; Oath; Religion.

(4) Commonwealth v. Hills, 10 Cush. 532 (1852), Dewey, J.
At law. 1. According to the course of the common law; in law, as opposed to "in equity" or according to the principles and procedure in courts of equity or chancery.

Attorney-in-fact. One who serves another as agent in the doing of a particular thing; an agent for the transaction of an act specified in a sealed instrument called a "letter" or "power" of attorney.

An attorney may be: a). an "attorney-in-fact" or "private attorney", or b). an "attorney-at-law" or "public attorney". The former is one who is given authority by his principal to do a particular act not of legal character. The latter is employed to appear for the parties to actions, or other judicial proceedings, and is an officer of the courts.(1)

The word "attorney" alone does not neccessarily import that the person is an officer of a court;(1) but, standing unqualified, ordinarily it refers to an attorney-at-law.

(1) Hall v. Sawyer, 47 Barb. 119 (1866), Potter, J.
Attorney, letter of. The instrument by which the authority of an attorney-in-fact is set forth.

Audire. Latin. To hear. Compare Oyer.

Audi altoram partem. Hear the other side – the accused, the defendant.

Audita querela. The complaint having been heard. An audita querela lies where a defendant, against whom a judgment is recovered and who is therefore in danger of execution, may be relieved upon good matter of discharge which has happened since the judgment: as if the plaintiff has given him a general release, or if the defendant has paid the debt without procuring satisfaction to be entered on the record.

Audit. Literally, he hears; a hearing. See Audire (above).

Auter. See Autre below.

Autre. French. Another. Also spelled auter.

Autre action pendant. Another action pending.
Autre droit. Another's right. See further Droit.
Autre vie. Another's life. See Vie.
Autrefois. French. Another time; formerly.

Autrefois acquit. Formerly acquitted.
Autrefois convict. Formerly convicted.
Aver. To assert for the truth; to state in positive terms; to allege formally. See Averment (below).

Averment. French averer, to affirm as true: Latin ad, to; verum, truth. A positive statement of the truth of a fact; a formal allegation in pleading.

Avoid. M. Eng. avoiden, to make empty, put out of the way. To cause to be or become empty; to render useless or void; to make inoperative or of no effect; to nullify. As oppossed to: affirm, confirm.

Avoidance. Setting aside; nullifying; rendering of no effect -See 2 Bl. Com. 308; Compare Void.

Avow. Latin Ad-vovere, to vow to: ad-vocare. To declare openly; to acknowledge and justify an act; opposed to disavow.

A Dictionary of Law (1893): Letter B


Bailiwick. French baillie, government; bailler, to have custody of; wic, dwelling, station, jurisdiction. A word, introduced by the Normans, and equivalent to "county". The liberty, province, or jurisdiction of a sheriff. 1 Bl. Com. 311; 2 id. 37.

Ballot. French ballotte, a little ball for voting. n. A ball or a ticket used in voting; a paper embodying a vote; also, the whole number of votes cast. v. To decide by voting. In French dictionaries, defined as "the act of voting by ballas or tickets by putting the same into a box or urn"; also as, "secret voting by means of a ball or ticket". The word did not change its meaning when adopted into the English language.

Ban; Bann. A.S. gebann: L.L. bandum, bannum, a proclamation. Public proclamation or notice.

Banc. French banc: Latin bancus, a bench. The seat occupied by judges of a court; more particularly, a full bench, when all, or at least a majority, of the judges are present for the decision of questions of law, as distinguished from the practices of one or more members of the court sitting, with a jury, for the determination of questions of fact. Whence "banc days" and "sitting in banc".

Bank; banker; banking. A banker is one who makes merchandise of money. 2 Bl. Com. 475. Having a place of business where deposits are received and paid out on checks and where money is loaned upon security is the substance of the business of a banker. Act of 3 March, 1865; 13 St. L. 252, 472. See Merchant.

Bankrupt. French banque, a table or counter; route, trace, track: his "banque" was removed and no trace of it left, - 2 Bl. Com. 272. Italian banca rotta, a broken bench: a money-changer's bench was broken up, on his failing in business, - Skeat. See 3 Story 453. A trader who secretes himself, or does certain other acts tending to defraud his creditors. 2 Bl. Com. 285, 471. See Trader. Bankruptcy is a proceeding of an equitable nature - a sequestration of a debtor's property that the creditors may resort to, instead of an ordinary suit at law or in equity. Re Weitzel, 7 Biss 290 (1876). Foreigners were exempt from the law; also, a citizen whose provable debts were less than three hundred dollars.

Bar. A particular portion of a court room. Named from the space inclosed by two bars or rails: one of which separated the judge's bench from the rest of the room; the other shut off both the bench and the area for lawyers engaged in trials from the space allotted to suitors, witnesses, and others. Such persons as appeared as speakers (advocates, or counsel) before the court, were said to be "called to the bar", that is, privileged so to appear, speak and otherwise serve in the presence of the judges as "barristers". The corresponding phrase in the United States is "admitted to the bar".

Plea in bar. A plea intended to overthrow an action; a plea which sets up an absolute or peremptory defense, as, payment.
Special plea in bar. New matter avoiding the inference of law on facts previously stated.
Baron. L.L. baro, varo: Latin vir, a man - Webster. German bar, a man: beran, to carry - Skeat. The man - one able to bear arms; one bound to render service to the king. 1 Bl. Com. 398-99. A lord; a husband.

Baron and femme. Man and woman; husband and wife. 1 Bl. Com. 432.
Covert-baron. One under coverture; a wife. 1 Bl. Com. 442. See Coverture.
Barrister. See Bar.

Battel. Latin batuere, to strike, beat. Trial by combat or duel. Also called wager of battel, battle, battaile.

Battery. Latin batuere, to beat. The unlawful beating of another. Any unlawful touching of person of another, either by the agressor or by any person or thing set in motion by him. The least touching of another's person willfully, or in anger, is a battery. The law cannot draw the line between different degrees of violence, and therefore prohibits the first and lowest stage of it - every man's person being sacred and no other having a right to meddle with it in the slightest manner. 3 Bl. Com. 120.

Belief. Conviction of mind, founded on evidence, that a fact exists - that an act was done, that a statement is true. Giddens v. Mirk, 4 Ga. 369 (1848). The difference between "belief" and "knowledge" consists in the degree of certainty. Things which do not make a deep impression on the memory may be said to leave a "belief". "Knowledge" is firm belief. 9 Cal. 62.

Belligerent. See War.

Belong. In statutes referring to inhabitancy, the poor, etc., designates the place of a person's legal settlement, not merely his place of residence. Reading v. Westport, 19 Conn. 564 (1849), Church, C.J.; 3 id. 467; 18 id. 425; 8 Vt. 45.

Bench. The judge's seat in a court. Also, the judges themselves as a tribunal or a professional class: as, the common or common pleas bench, the supreme bench, a full or partial bench. Compare Bar. King's or Queen's bench. The supreme court of common law in England, now merged into the High Court of Justice. The king in person used to sit in his court: In theory it was always held before the sovereign. It has also supervisory power over inferior tribunals, magistrates, and corporations. See 3 Bl. Com. 41; 4 id. 265.

Beneficiary. One who is entitled to the benefit of a contract or of an estate held by another. The word, though a little remote from the original meaning of the expression "cestui que trust", is more appropriate for one who is a trustee or fide-commisary. 1 Story, Eq. 12 ed.§ 321, note. See Trust, Cestui, etc.

Bequeath. A gift of personal property by will.

Bicycle. Held to be a "carriage" within a statute forbidding fast driving. Taylor v. Goodwin, L.R., 4 Q.B.D. 228 (1879). In the absence of legislative prohibition, riders of bicycles would seem to have the same rights on highways as those using any other vehicle. Cook, Highways. See 69 Law Times, 28 (1880).

Bigamy. The offense of having two husbands or wives at the same time, the one de jure and the other de facto. 1 Bishop, Mar. & Div.§ 296. Strictly speaking, bigamy means "twice married", as its derivative shows. This was never an offense at common law; it was made an offense by the canonists. Polygamy is the proper term; but, by long usage, bigamy has come to mean the state of a man who has two wives, or a woman who has two husbands, at the same time. 4 Bl. Com. 163; 81 Pa. 432, 430; 1 law Quar. Rev. 474-76 (1885).

Billa cassetur. That the bill be quashed. A judgment, at common law, for the defendant, on a plea in abatement. 3 Bl. Com. 303.

Black-Mail. French maille, a small coin. Rent reserved in work, grain, or the baser money. Opposed, white rent: rent paid in silver. See 2 Bl. Com. 42-43. In common parlance, extortion - the exaction of money for the performance of a duty, the prevention of an injury, or the exercise of an influence. Edsall v. Brooks, 2 Robt. 33-34, N.Y. Super. Ct. (1864).

Blackstone, Sir William. Born July 10, 1723. In 1765 appeared the first volume of his commentaries. The other three volumes were published during the next four years. He died February 14, 1780. American lawyers, with few exceptions, since the Revolution, have drawn their first lessons in jurisprudence from Blackstone's Commentaries (Bl. Com.).

Blasphemy. Greek blas phemein', to speak ill or evil of. Denying the being or providence of the Almighty, or contumelious reproaching of Christ; also, profane scoffling at the Holy Scripture, or exposing it to contempt or ridicule. 4 Bl. Com. 59. Maliciously reviling God or religion. An offense at common law. The reviling is an offense because it tends to corrupt the morals of the people and to destroy good order. Such offenses have always been considered independent of any religious establishment or the rights of the church. They are treated as affecting the essential interests of civil society. Consists in blaspheming the Holy Name of God, by denying, cursing, or contumeliously reproaching God, His creation, His government, or final judging of the world. Commonwealth v. Kneeland, 20 Pick. 211-12 (Mass. 1838), Shaw, C.J. Purposely using words concerning God calculated and designed to impair and destroy the reverence, respect, and confidence due to Him, as the intelligent creator, governor, and judge of the world. A willfull and malicious attempt to lessen men's reverence of God, by denying His existence or His attributes as an intelligent creator, governor and judge of men, and to prevent their having confidence in Him as such. 20 Id. 213, 220.

Body. Compare Corpus. The physical person. The natural body or such as is formed by the laws of God, as distinguished from an artificial body or such as is devised by human laws. 1 Bl. Com. 467.

Artificial body. A number of individuals considered collectively, usually organized for a common purpose: as, a legislative body. An artificial body or that devised by human laws. 1 Bl. Com. 467. An artificial body can do only what is authorized by its charter or by law; a natural person or body, whatever is not forbidden by law. Paul v. Virginia, 8 Wall. 177 (1868).
Bona fides. Good faith. See Fides.

Borough. A town, whether incorporated or not, that send burgesses to parliament. 1 Bl. Com. 114; 2 id. 82; 41 Mo. 175. In the United States, not exclusively used with any precise meaning. Borough and village may be duplicate names for the same thing. 18 Ohio St. 507 (1869).

Boulevard. Now, a public drive. Not, technically, a street, avenue, or highway, though a carriage-way over it is a feature. Refers to an area set apart for purposes of ornament, exercise, and amusement. 52 How. Pr. 445 (1873).

Boundary; Bounds. A visible line designating a limit. The legal, imaginary line by which different parcels of land are divided.

Artificial boundary. An object erected by man for designating the limit of an ownership in land; as, a post, a fence, or other monument.
Natural boundary. Any natural object remaining where placed by nature; as, a spring, a stream, a tree.
Breve. Latin. A writ; literally, short, brief. Also, an original writ. Plural, brevia.

Brief. French bref: Latin brevis, short. A concise statement; an epitome; an abridgment.

Brief of title. An abstract of the deeds, judicial proceedings, etc., which affect a title to realty. In very old law, a writ. See Breve.
Broker. Mid. Eng., an agent, a witness of a transaction. An agent employed to make bargains and contracts between other persons in matters of trade, commerce or navigation, for a compensation commonly called brokerage. 83 N.Y. 381.

Bullion. Uncoined gold and silver, either smelted, refined, or in the condition in which it is used for coining.

A Dictionary of Law (1893): Letter C


C. L. P. Common law procedure.

C. P. Common pleas (court).

Call the plaintiff. At common law, when counsel for the plaintiff perceives that his client has not made out a case, the client may withdraw from the court room: whereupon, the crier is required to call the plaintiff. If he does not answer the call (made thrice in succession), judgment of nonsuit is entered. 3 Bl. Com. 376.

Camp-meeting. See Worship.

Canon. Greek kanðn', a reed, rod, rule. A rule; a law.
Canon law. Ecclesiastical law. In particular, a body of ecclesiastical laws relative to matters over which the church of Rome had or claims to have had jurisdiction. Received, In England, by immemorial custom, or else by consent of parliament; otherwise, ranked as unwritten law. 1 Bl. Com. 82, 79, 19.

Canons of descent -or-
Canons of inheritance. The rules which regulate the descent of inheritances; the rules according to which estates are transmitted from ancestor to heir. 2 Bl. Com. 208. See further Descent.

Capax. Latin. Receiving or containing: able, fit for; having capacity.
Capax doli. Competent to intend wrong, to commit a crime.
Doli incapax. Incapable of committing crime.
Capere. Latin. To take, seize; to arrest.

Capias. That you take. A common-law writ commanding the sheriff to take a defendant into custody. Named from the emphatic word in the writ when expressed in Latin. Has come to designate the whole class of writs by which arrests are made by a constable, sheriff, or marshal.

Capture. A taking, seizure. See Capere. Technically, a taking by military power; a seizure, a taking by civil authority. United States v. Athens Armory, 2 Abb. C. C. 137 (1868).

Caput mortuum. A dead head: a matter of no legal validity; a thing void as to all persons and for all purposes. See 96 U.S. 195-196.

Carrier. One who engages to transport persons or property.

Case. 3. In pleading, a term for "action on the case", "trespass on the case", "special action of trespass on the case" –a common-law form of action. A remedy for all personal wrongs committed without force –where the injury is consequential. Called "case" because the plaintiff's whole cause of complaint is set forth at length. 3 Bl. Com. 122, 154.

Cassetur. See Quash.

Casus omissus. A case not provided for. A combination of circumstances overlooked, or deemed unimportant, in a statute or a contract.

Causa. Latin. That which operates to produce an effect; that on account of which a thing is done; that which supplies a motice, or constitutes a reason.

Causa sine qua non. A cause without which a thing cannot be or exist: as, a cause without which an injury could not have occurred. 111 U.S. 211.

Cause. 1. English. (1) That which produces or effects a result; that from which anything proceeds, and without which it would not exist. Webster's Dictionary.

Probable cause. Within the meaning of the law relating to actions for malicious prosecutions, - a reasonable cause of suspicion, supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to warrant a cautious man in the belief that the person accused is guilty of the offense with which he is charged. 97 U.S. 615.
Caveat. Latin. Let him take heed; let him beware. A formal notice or warning to an officer or a court not to do a specified act; as, not to probate a will, grant letters of administration, issue letters-patent for an invention or for land, - until the person procuring the order can be heard in opposition to the contemplated act or proceeding. See Slocum v. Grandin, 38 N.J.E. 488 (1884).

Cede. See Cession below.

Certificate. Latin certificatus, assured, made certain. A writing giving assurance that a thing has or has not been done, that an act has or has not been performed, that a fact exists or does not exist. To "certify" is to testify to in writing: to make known or establish as a fact. The word is not essential to a "certificate"; it is enough that the law calls a statement a certificate. State v. Schwin, 65 Wis. 213 (1886): Webster's Dictionary.

Cession. A yielding up; transfer. Cede: to give up, yield up. Somers v. Pierson, 16 N.J.L. 184 (1837).

Cestui que via. He for whose life - land is held by another: he whose life measures the duration of an estate. 2 Bl. Com. 123, Ibid 461; 1 Washburn R.P. 88.

Challenge. Mid. English chalenge, a claim: French chalonge, a dispute, accusation. 1. A request to fight – to fight a duel. 2. Objection to the legality of a vote about to be cast. See Ballot. 3. Objection to a cause being tried before a particular judge on account of alleged bias, prejudice, interest, or other disqualification. 4. Objection to a juror or jurors drawn to try a cause.

Challenge to the array. An exception to the whole panel in which the jury are arrayed or set in order by the sheriff in his return. 3 Bl. Com. 359.
Challenge to the polls. An exception to particular jurors.
Challenge for cause. For which a reason is assigned, - to the array or to the polls.
Challenge for favor. Of the same nature and effect as a principle challenge "propter affectum."
Peremptory challenge. For which no reason is assigned.
Principal challenge. 1. "Proper defectum" - for disability: as, negligence, alienage, infancy, unsound mind, insufficient property. 2. "Propter affectum" - for bias or partiality: as, opinion formed; of kin to a party, or of the same fraternity or corporation; his attorney, servant, or tenant, or entertained by him; promised money for verdict; sued by exceptant in an action involving legal malice; being formerly a juror or an arbitrator in the matter; influenced by scruples against the punishment. 3. "Propter delictum" - for an offense committed: as, convicted of treason, forgery, perjury, or other crimen falsi. See 3 Bl. Com. 361-65; 4 id. 352; 29 Kan. 690; 17 S. & R. 162.
Character. The qualities impressed by nature or habit on a person, which distinguish him from other persons. These constitute his real character; while the qualities he is supposed to possess constitute his estimated character or reputation. "Reputation" may be evidence of character, but is not character itself. 8 Barb. 608 (1850). That which a person really is, in distinction from that which he may be reputed to be. 5 Iowa 391 (1857).

Charta. Latin. Paper; a writing; a charter. See Magna Charta.

Charter. 1. A deed is sometimes called a charter from its materials. 2 Bl. Com. 295. 2. The primary meaning - a deed or sealed instrument - is obsolete. Used alone, the word now refers to certain instruments which eminate from government, in the nature of letters-patent. See 1 Story, Const. § 161. The king's grants, whether of lands, honors, liberties, franchises, or aught besides, are contained in charters or letters-patent, q.v., 2 Bl. Com. 316, Ibid 108, 473.

Chattel. Things personal include not only things movable, but something more: the whole of which is comprehended under the general name of "chattels", which Coke says is a French word signifying goods - from the technical Latin catalla, which meant, primarily, beasts of husbandry, and, secondarily, all movables in general. In Normandy, a chattel stood opposed to a fief or feud. 2 Bl. Com. 385-86. any species of property not real estate or freehold. 2 Kent, 312.

Cheat. French escheat: from fraud used by lords of manors to procure escheats. Cheats which are punishable at common law may be described to be deceitful practices in defrauding or endeavoring to defraud another of his known rights by means of some artful devices, contrary to the plain rules of common honesty. Hawkins, Pl. Cr., b. 1, c. 23, § 1. A cheat or fraud, indictable at common law, must be such as would affect the public, such as common prudence cannot guard against; as, using false weights and measures, or false tokens, or where there is a conspiracy to cheat. Technically, the offence is "false pretenses." Spoken of one in relation to his vocation, the word is defamatory and actionable. See Covin; Deceit; Swindle.

Christian. One who believes or assents to the doctrines of Christianity, as taught by Jesus Christ in the New Testament, or who, being born of Christian parents or in a Christian country, does not profess any other religion, or does not belong to any one of the other religious divisions of man. Hale v. Everett, 53 N.H. 50 (1868). See Name, 1.

Christianity. The system of doctrines and precepts taught by Christ; the religion founded by Christ. Christianity is said to be part of the common law. "Christianity is parcel of the laws of England; and, therefore, to reproach the Christian religion is to speak in subversion of the law." -Taylor's Case, Ventris 293 (1676). "The essential principles of natural religion and of revealed religion are a part of the common law, so that any person reviling or subverting or ridiculing them may be prosecuted at common law". -Case of Evans, 2 Burn. Ec. L. 185 (1780). The maxim can have no reference to the law of the National government, since the sources of that law are the Constitution, treaties, and acts of Congress. See Wheaton v. Peters, 8 Pet. 591 (1831). See further Law, Common; Blasphemy; Policy, 2.; Religion.

Church. A temple or building consecrated to the Honor of God and religion; or, an assembly of persons, united by the profession of the same Christian faith, met together for all religious worship. Robertson v. Bullions, 9 Barb. 95 (1850). The civil courts have only to do with the rights of property. When a right of property depends on a civil court question, and that question has been decided by the highest tribunal within the religious organization to which it has been carried, the civil courts accept that decision as final. Relations of Civil Law to Church Policy (1875) Hon. William Strong; Watson v. Jones, 13 Wall. 713, 722-31 (1871).

Circuit. A division of country visited by a judge for the dispensing of justice, as for the trial of causes; also, the periodical journey itself.

Citizen. In the Roman government, seems to have designated a person who had the freedom of the city, and the right to exercise all political and civil privileges of the government. One who owes to government allegiance, service, and money by way of taxation, and to whom the government, in turn, grants and guarantees liberty of person and of conscience, the right of acquiring and possessing property, of marriage and the social relations, of suit and of defense, and security in person, estate, and reputation. Amy v. Smith, 1 Litt. *312 (Ky. 1822). Citizenship implies residence with intention of remaining permanently at the particular place. Union Hotel Co. v. Hersee, 79 N.Y. 461 (1880). See Inhabitant; Resident.

Civil. Latin civis. Pertaining to the citizen – the free inhabitant of an independent city, in distinction from the government, the soldier, the peasant, the ecclesiastic, and persons of other classes. Pertaining to the administration of government, and contrasted with military and ecclesiastical: as, civil – office, officer, tenure, qq. v.

Civiliter mortuus. Civilly dead.

Clausum. Latin. A close; an inclosure. See close below.

Quare clausum fregit. (plural fregerunt). Wherefore he broke the close. The emphatic words in the old Latin writ commanding a defendant to show cause why he made an alleged unlawful entry upon plaintiff's land.
Clerk. 1. A member of the clergy. The clergy, as they engrossed almost every other branch of learning, were remarkable for their study of the law. The judges were usually created out of the sacred order, and all the inferior officers were supplied by the lower clergy, which occasioned their successors to be dominated "clerks". 1 Bl. Com. 17. 2. A person employed to keep records; as, a clerk of the court.

Client. French client, suitor: Latin cliens, one who hears, listens to advice. One who employs a lawyer professionally.

Close. noun. An interest in the soil. Richardson v. Brewer, 81 Ind. 108 (1881). A portion of land, as, a field inclosed by a hedge, fence, or other sensible inclosure. Lochlin v. Casler, 52 How. Pr. 45 (1875). Every unwarrantable entry on another's soil the law entitles a trespass by "breaking his close"; the words of the writ of trespass commanding the defendant to show cause quare clausum querentis fregit. For every man's land is, in law, inclosed and set apart from his neighbor's land. 3 Bl. Com. 209.

Cloud. "Cloud" and the fuller and more freqent expression "cloud upon the title" import that there is in existence something which shows a prima facie right in a person to an interest in realty in the possession of another.

Coercion. Compulsion; constraint; duress. Implied or legal coercion is when a person, under legal subjection to another, is induced to do an act involuntarily.

Color. 2. Appearance; apparent reality; validity, or legality; also, pretense.

Colorable. Existing in aspect merely; not real; as, a colorable abridgment or alteration of a copyrighted production, imitation of a trademark, assignment, claim or defense, change of possession, title, qq. v.

Color of law. Pretense or semblance of legal right or authority -See U.S. v. Deaver, 14 F.R. 599 (1882). See Extortion.

Color of title. That which in appearance is title, but which in reality is no title. Wright v. Mattison, 18 How. 56-59 (1855), cases. The resemblance or appearance of title. Whenever an instrument, by apt words of transfer from grantor to grantee, in form passes what purports to be the title, it gives color of title. Hall v. Law, 102 U.S. 466 (1880), Field, J.

Color officii. By color of office.

Comitatus. See County, Power of.

Commerce. Latin commercium. In its simplest signification, an exchange of goods; but in the advancement of society, labor, transportation, itelligence, care and various mediums of exchange, become commodities and enter into commerce. Gibbens v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. 1, 229 (1824), Marshall, Chief Justice. The interchange or mutual change of goods, productions, or property of any kind, between nations or individuals. People v. Raymond, 84 Cal. 497 (1868).

Commodity. Convenience, privilege, profit, gain; popularity, goods, wares, merchandise.

Commodum. Latin. Convenience, benefit, advantage.

Qui sentit commodum, sentire debet et onus. He who enjoys the benefit, ought also to bear the burden. He who enjoys the advantage of a right takes the accompanying disadvantage – a privilege is subject to its condition.
Commonwealth. The common or public weal: the republic; the state, or a State; the people, qq. v.

Commorant. Latin commorari, to abide: Inhabiting, dwelling, residing; as, in saying that a person is or is not commorant in a particular place. Whence commorancy. See 3 Bl. Com. 364.

Compact. An agreement or contract – between independent sovereignties. 1 Bl. Com. 45.

Company. 2. Applied to persons engaged in trade, those united for the same purpose or in a joint concern. Palmer v. Pinkham, 33 Me. 36 (1851).

Compulsory. Involuntarily; constrained: as, a compulsory – arbitration, assignment, condition, nonsuit, payment, process.

Conditio. Latin. A stipulation, proviso, condition, q.v.

Conditio sine qua non. A condition without which (a thing can) not (exist); an indispensable prerequisite.
Confederacy. Latin con-foederare, to unite by covenant: foedus, a league. A league, or compact; a combination.

Confederation. A compact. An agreement between states or nations by which they unite for mutual welfare.

Confessio. Latin. Acknowledgment; admission; confession.

Confessio facti. Admission of a fact.
Confessio juris. Admission of the law – of the effect of a thing in law.
Confiscate. Latin confiscare, to transfer to the public purse: fiscus, a purse. To transfer property from private to public use; to forfeit property to the prince or state. Ware v. Hylton, 8 Dall. 234 (1796); 12 Mo. Ap. 234. "Confiscation" is the act of the sovereign against a rebellious subject. "Condemnation" as prize is the act of a belligerent against another belligerent.

Confiscation Acts of 1861 and 1862. The act of August 6, 1861 and the act of July 17, 1862. 12 St. L. 319, 590. Made in exercise of the war powers of the Government. The right to make such laws exists alike in civil and foreign war. Congress determines what property shall be taken. Miller v. United States, 11 Wall. 308, 312-13 (1870). The proceedings are justified as an exercise of belligerent rights against a public enemy, and are not a punishment for treason. Hence, the pardon of an act of treason will not restore rights of property previously condemned. Semmes v. United States, 91 U.S. 27 (1875).

The act of 1862, as explained by a resolution of the same date, provided that forfeiture of realty should not extend beyond the life of the offender. Passing this act was an exercise of war powers, not a criminal proceeding. Bigelow v. Forrest, 9 Wall. 350, 338 (1869). It's design was to strengthen the Government and to enfeeble the enemy by taking from the adherents of that enemy the power to use their property in aid of the hostile cause. It provided for the seizure and condemnation of the life-estate, with the fee left in the heirs. Wallach v. Van Riswich, 92 U.S. 207 (1875). The act of 1861 made property a lawful subject of capture and prize. The object of the act of 1862 was to confiscate the property of traitors by way of punishment for countenancing the rebellion. Kirk v. Lynd, 106 U.S. 319 (1882). The act of 1862, generally known as the Confiscation Act, and the joint resolution of the same day explanatory thereof, must be considered together. In a sale of property thereunder, all that could be sold was a right to the property seized, terminating with the life of the offender. Such sale does not effect the rights of a mortgagee in favor of a third person. The property goes to the Government or to the purchaser cum onere. Shields v. Schiff, 124 U.S. 356 (1888).

Conflict of laws. Opposition of laws upon the same object, whether of the same or of different jurisdictions.

Conregation. An assemblage or union of persons for a religious purpose. Runkel v. Winemiller, 4 H, & M'H, 452 (1799). A voluntary association of individuals or families, united for the purpose of having a common place of worship, and to provide a proper teacher to instruct them in religious doctrines and duties, and to administer the ordinances. Baptist Church of Hartford v. Witherall, 3 Paige, Ch. 301 (1832). See Church.

Consanguinity. Latin consanguineus: con, together; sanguis, blood. The connection or relation of persons descended from the same stock or common ancestor. 2 Bl. Com. 202; blood-relationship. Opposed, affinity.

Consanguinei. Blood relations.

Conscience. The moral sense; the sense of right and justice. Many violations of natural justice are left wholly to conscience, and are without redress, equitable or legal. 45 Pa. 432-33.

Rights of conscience. The constitutional declaration that "no human authority can control or interfere with the rights of conscience" refers to the right to worship the Supreme Being according to the dictates of the heart: to adopt any creed or hold any opinion on the subject of religion; and, for conscience sake, to do, or to forbear to do, any act not prejudicial to the public weal. Commonwealth v. Lesher, 17 S. & R. 160 (1827), Gibson, C.J.
Consensus. Latin. Perceiving or feeling alike: agreement; consent.

Consensus facit legem. Consent makes the law.
Consensus, non concubitus, facit matrimonium. Consent, not intercourse, creates marriage.
Consensus tollit errorem. Consent removes error: the effect of a mistake is obviated or waived by concurrence.
Qui tacet consentire videtur. He who is silent is regarded as consenting: silence gives consent.
Consign. Latin con-signare, to mark, seal: to register, attest. In civil law, for a debtor, under the direction of a court, to deposit with a third person an article of property for the benefit of a creditor.

Constituent. See Agent.

Constitution. Latin. constituere, to make to stand together, to establish. Originally, an important decree or edict. Later, the laws and usages which gave a government its characteristic features - the organic law. The constitution of England consists of customs, statutes, common laws, and decisions of fundamental importance. American constitutions are enacted; but the meaning of much of them is found in decided cases. Lieber, Eneye, Am., tit. Constitution. The body of rules and maxims in accordance with which the powers of sovereignty are habitually exercised. Cooley, Prine. Const. Law, 22-23. Constitutions guard the rights of personal security, personal liberty, private property, and of religious profession and worship. 1 Kent, 407. Constitutions are instruments of a practical nature, founded on the common business of human life, adapted to common wants, designed for common use, and fitted for common understandings. 1 Story, Const. § 451; 7 Tex. Ap. 210; 24 N.Y 486.

Consuetudo. Latin. Custom; usgage; practice.

Consuetudo est altera lex. Custom is another law.
Consuetudo interpres legum. Custom is the expounder of laws.
Consuetudo loci observanda. The custom of the place is to be conformed to. See Custom.
Contra. Latin. Against; in opposition to; to the contrary effect; contrary.

Contra bonos mores. Against good morals.
Contra pacem. Against the peace.
Conventio. Latin. A coming together: agreement, engagement.

Conventio vincit legem. Agreement takes the place of the law: the express understanding of parties supersedes such understanding of parties supersedes such understanding as the law would imply. Parties are permitted to make law for themselves where their agreements do not violate the express provisions of any municipal law nor injuriously affect the interests of the public. 22 N.Y. 219.
Conversion. Changing into another state or condition.

Trover and conversion. The action for damages for a conversion, maintainable by him who has the right to immediate possession. 3 Bl. Com. 152; 127 Mass. 64.
Conveyance. French convier, to transmit: Latin conviare, to accompany. A carrying from place to place; also, transmission, transfer, from one person to another. 2. Transfer of title to realty; and, the instrument by which this is done. To "convey" real estate is, by an appropriate instrument, to transfer the legal title from the present owner to another. Edelman v. Yeakel, 27 Pa. 29 (1856).

Absolute conveyance. A conveyance entirely executed; not conditional, as in the case of a mortgage.
Conveyances at common law. Some of these may be called original or primary, those by means whereof the benefit or estate is created or first arises.; others, derivative or secondary, those whereby the benefit or estate originally created is enlarged, restrained, transferred, or estinguished. Original are: feoffment, gift, grant, lease, exchange, partition. Derivative are: release, confirmation, surrender, assignment, defeasance- each of which pre-supposes some other conveyance precedent. 2 Bl. Com. 309, 324. At common law, words of conveyance were give, grant, bargain and sell, alien, enfeoff, release, confirm, quitclaim.
Mesne conveyance. A conveyance between others; an immediate transfer.
Reconveyance. A transfer of realty back to the original or former grantor.
Cord. One hundred and twenty-eight cubic feet.

Corporation. A creature of the crown, created by letters-patent. An artificial being, indivisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of law. 1 Blackstone, 295. The United States may be deemed a corporation, United States v. Hillegas, 3 Wash. 73 (1811); so may a State, 1 Abb. U.S. 22 and 35 Ga. 315; and so, a county. All corporations were originally modeled upon a state or nation; whence they are still called "bodies politic", McIntosh, Hist. Eng. 31-32. A corporation exists only by force of law, and can have no legal existance beyond the bounds of the sovereignty by which it is created. It dwells in the place of its creation. It is not a "citizen", within the meaning of the Constitution, and cannot maintain a suit in a Federal court against a citizen of a different State from that by which it was created, unless the persons who compose the corporate body are all citizens of that State.

Incorporate. To form into an artificial body; to create a corporation out of natural persons.
Incorporation. The act of uniting natural persons into a creature of the law; also, a body incorporated, that is, a corporation - a use not favored.
Corpus. Latin. A body; also, the principal thing, the essential part, the substance.

Corpus comitatus. The body of the county.

County. Originally, a province governed by a count, - the earl or alderman to whom the government of the shire was entrusted. 1 Bl. Com. 116.

Body of a county. 1. The territorial limits of a county. 2. The people of a county collectively considered. See Venue.
Power of the county. The male inhabitants of a county, over fifteen years of age, whom the sheriff may command to aid him in preserving the peace, executing process, arresting felons, etc.; the posse comitatus. 1 Bl. Com. 313. See Sheriff; Warrant.
Court of chancery or of equity. A court which proceeds wholly according to the principles of equity.

Court inferior or inferior court. A court subordinate to another; or, a court of limited jurisdiction.

Court of law or of common law. Any court which administers justice according to the principles and forms of the common law.

Court-Martial. See Martial.

Court superior or superior court. A court with controlling authority over some other court or courts, and with certain original jurisdiction of its own.

Court supreme or supreme court. A court of the highest jurisdiction; also, a court higher than some other court or courts, but not necessarily of last resort.

Covenant. French covenant, convenant, agreement: Latin convenire, to come together, agree. A promise under seal: as, a covenant to pay rent.

Cover. See Covert.

Covert. French covrir, to cover. 1. Covered, protected. 2. Implied, inferred. 3. Under the disability of marriage; married. Discovert meaning unmarried, whether said of a widow or of a spinster.

Covert baron. A wife: under the protection of her husband or baron. 1 Bl. Com. 442.
Feme covert. A married woman: under the wing, protection or cover of her husband. 1 Bl. Com. 442.
Coverture. The condition of a woman during marriage. Discoverture meaning not subject to the disability of being married.

Covin. French couvenir, to agree, covenant. "A contrivance between two to defraud or cheat a third", Mix v. Muzzy, 28 Conn. 191 (1859).

Crown. The sovereign; the royal power: also, that which concerns or pertains to the ruling power - the king or queen.

Curia regis. The king's court.

Curtilage. 1. Originally, the land with the castle and out-houses, inclosed often with high walls, where the old barons sometimes held court in the open air. Whence court-yard. 2. The court-yard in the front or rear of a house, or at its side; any piece of ground lying near, inclosed, used with, and necessary for the convenient occupation of the house, People v. Gedney, 10 Hun 151 (1877). A fence or inclosure of a small piece of land around a dwelling-house, usually including the buildings occupied in connection with the dwelling-house, the inclosure consisting of either a separate fence or partly of a fence and partly of the exterior of buildings so within the inclosure, 140 Mass. 289.

Custom. French custume; Latin costuma; con, together, very; suere, to make one's own - have it one's own way. That length of usage which has become law; a usage which has acquired the force of law.

General customs. The universal rule of the whole kingdom, forming the common law, in its stricter and more usual signification.
Particular customs. Such as, for the most part, affect only the inhabitants of particular districts; a local or special custom, 1 Bl. Com. 167

A Dictionary of Law (1893): Letter D


D.B.E. De bene esse, conditionally.

D.B.N. De bonis non, of effects unadministered.

D.P. Domus procerum, House of Lords.

D.R. Declaration of Rights.

D.S. Deputy Sheriff.

D.S.B. Debitum sine brevi, debt without a writ.

Damages. The compensation which the law will award for an injury done. 3 Bl. Com. 6-7; 50 Mich. 32.

Civil damages. Injuries sustained either to one's rights as a citizen of a State and of the United States, or else to his relative rights as a member of a family, and aside from any view of the act complained of as an offense to the public and punishable in the criminal tribunals.

Constructive damages. Such damages as are imputed in law from an act of wrong to another person.

Nominal damages. A trivial sum awarded where a mere breach of duty or infraction of right is shown, with no serious loss sustained.

Damnum. Latin. That which is taken away: loss: damage; legal hurt or harm. Plural, damna; legal losses. Damnificatus, injured, damaged, damnified. Damnosa, hurtful.

Ad damnum. To the loss; "to the damage of plaintiff (so many) dollars". The clause at the end of a common-law declaration, in which the plaintiff sets out the money amount of the loss he has suffered in consequence of the act he complains of; also, the amount itself so set out. R. Co., 83 Ky. 171, 180 (1885).

Ad quod damnum. To what damage. A writ, at common law, by which the sheriff was to inquire by a jury what damage it would be to the sovereign, or to a subject, to grant a fair, market, highway, or other like franchise.

Quantum damnificatus. How much is he injured.

Non damnificatus. He is not injured.

Damnum absque injuria. A loss without injury: deprivation without legal injury; a loss for which the law provides no remedy. Opposed, injuria absque damno: injury without legal damage.

Damnum fatale. A fated loss; a loss ordained by fate - beyond the control of man.

Danger. In the law of self defense "apparent danger" means such overt, actual demonstration, by conduct and acts, of a design to take life or to do some great personal injury, as makes killing apparently necessary for self-preservation. Evans v. State, 44 Miss. 773 (1870).

Dare. Latin. To give; to transfer. See Dedimus.

Nemo dat qui non habet. No one gives who does not have.
Nemo dat quod non habet. No one can give what he does not own.
Qui non habet, ille non dat. He who does not own cannot transfer. 71 Ala. 288; 100 Mass. 24; 4 Wend. 619.
Date. Latin datum, a thing given. The primary signification is time "given" or specified, - in some way ascertained and fixed. 2 Bl. Com. 304; 32 N.J.L. 515 (1866). In the ancient form the clause ran: datum apud, etc., specifying the place and time; thence called the datum clause, afterward shortened to "date".

De. A Latin preposition denoting: away from, out of, arising from; of, about, concerning, with regard to; for, on account of, because of, by.

De bene esse. For the well being; provisionally, conditionally. Abbreviated d.b.e. (see above).
De bonis. Of, for, or concerning goods or property.
De cursu. Of course; as a matter of course.
De donis. Concerning grants.
De facto. In fact; as a matter of fact.
De gratia. From favor, indulgence.
De homine replegiando. For replevying a man.
De incremento. Of the increase.
De injuria. Of wrong.
De jure. By right; by legal right or title.
De mercatoribus. Concerning merchants.
De novo. From the first; anew.
De partitione facienda. For division to be made.
De son tort. Of his own wrong.
De terris. Out of the lands.
De vicineto. From the vicinage or country.
Death. Cessation of life; extinction of political existence.

Civil death. Extinction of civil rights. A bankrupt is regarded as civilly dead. 101 U.S. 406 (1879). Civilitur mortuus - civilly dead.
Natural death. Death by visitation of the Creator; death from the unassisted operation of natural causes.
Debet. Latin. He owes; from debere: de habere, to have a thing of some one. Debet et detinet - He owes and with holds.

Debit. He owes.

Debitum. A thing due or owing; an obligation; a debt, q.v.

Debitum in præsenti, solvendum in futuro. An obligation existing in the present, dischargeable in the future.
Debitum sine brevi. Debt without a writ or declaration. Abbreviated d.s.b. (see above).
Nihil debet. He owes nothing.
Debt. Whatever one owes. Rodman v. Munson, 13 Barb. 197 (1852). See Debet. A sum of money due by certain and express agreement. 3 Bl. Com. 154.

Deceit. Any devise or false representation by which one man misleads another to his injury. Formerly, the remedy was a "writ of deceit"; now, unless otherwise provided by statute, it is by an "action of trespass on the case". The defendant or his agent must have been guilty of some moral wrong; legal fraud alone will not support the action. Erie City Iron Works v. Barber, 106 Pa. 125, 138, 140 (1884), cases.

Decisum. Latin. Cut off, settled, decided; a decision, a precedent.

Stare decisis, et non quieta movere. Shortened to stare decisis. To stand by precedents and not to disturb that which is settled: to follow decided cases; adhere to precedents. Where there has been a series of decisions by the highest tribunal, the rule stare decisis is regarded as impregnable - except by legislative enactment. Harrow v. Meyers, 29 Ind. 470 (1868); 88 id. 568.
Decree. Latin decretum: de cernere, to decide literally, to separate. The decision, judgment, or sentence of a court of equity, admiralty, probate, or divorce jurisdiction. A judgment in a suit, equitable in nature, rendered by a court exercising equitable powers. 3 Bl. Com. 451.

Interlocutory decree. A decree which directs an inquiry as to a matter of law or fact preparatory to a final decision.
Final decree. A decree which finally decides and disposes of the merits of the whole cause, and reserves no further question or direction for the future judgment of the court, so that it will not be necessary to bring the cause again before the court for decision. Beebe v. Russell, 19 How. 285 (1856); 13 Pet. 15 (1839).
Dedimus. Latin. We have given. See Dare. A commission to take testimony, the full name of which is dedimus potestatem, we have given power.

Deed. 1. A thing done; an act; a matter of fact, as opposed to a matter of law: as, a condition, an estoppel, a seisin in deed. Corresponds to the French pais, q.v. 2. A writing sealed and delivered by the maker - the most solemn and authentic act a man can perform with relation to the disposal of property. 2 Bl. Com. 295; 3 How. 615; Wood v. Owings, 1 Cranch 251 (1803). The word in itself imports a written instrument, see Pierson v. Townsend, 2 Hill 551 (1842); - a written instrument under seal, containing a contract of agreement which has been delivered by the party to be bound and accepted by the obligee or covenantee. McMurty v. Brown, 6 Neb. 376 (1877). In common use often limited to a writing, under seal, transferring real estate; a deed of conveyance of realty. See Conveyance; Title.

Defalcation. Latin diffalcare, to abate, deduct, take away. 1. Reduction of a claim by allowance of a counter-claim. 2. Misappropriation of trust funds - by a public or corporate officer.

Default. French de-faulte, to want, fail. (1) Something wrongful; some omission to do that which ought to have been done. (2) an omission, neglect or failure to do something required by law, or by a court administering the law. When a defendant omits to plead within the time allowed for that purpose, or fails to appear at the trial, he "makes default", and the judgment entered in the former case is "a judgment by default". When the plaintiff makes default he may be non-suited; but a default, in either party, for cause shown, may be "excused" or "saved".

Defense or Defence. French défense: Latin defensa: defendere, to strike down or away, ward off, repel. Mid. Eng. defence. 2. That which is offered by a defendant as sufficient to defeat a suit - by denying, justifying, or confessing and avoiding, the cause of action. A term used in common law pleading in the sense merely of "denial". U.S. v. Ordway, 30 F.R. 32 (1887).

Dilatory defense. A defense designed to dismiss, suspend, or obstruct the prosecution of a claim, without touching upon the defendant's "meritorious defense".
Equitable defense. A defense, in a common-law action, which rests upon equitable or legal and equitable grounds.
Full defense. In common-law practice, a defense made by the formula "he comes and defends the force and injury when and where it shall behoove him, the damages, and whatever else he ought to defend". Opposed, half-defense: made by the words "he comes and defends the force and injury, and says, etc." 3 Bl. Com. 298.
General defense. A general denial of the material allegations of a claim.
Legal defense. A defense which is ample or adequate in law as against the particular demand. Legal defense often stands opposed to equitable defense, q.v.
Peremptory defense. That the plaintiff never had, or has not now, a right of action.Sham defense. A mere pretense of a defense, set up in bad faith, and without color of fact. See further Sham.
Define. To set bounds to, mark the limits of. See below Definitio; Definition.

Definite. Bounded, fixed, certain. Opposed, indefinite.

Definitio. Latin. A bounding, limiting; defining, definition.

Omnis definitio in jure periculosa est. All limitation in law is perilous; defining in law is dangerous. Attempts to define the meaning of words, and to limit the application of statutes, are attended with more or less difficulty. Thus, also, as there are exceptions to almost every rule of law, and as circumstances alter cases infinitely, when a statute itself imposes no limitation upon its meaning or application, the courts, in construing the statute, as a rule, confine themselves to the circumstances of the case in hand.

Definition. An enumeration of the particular acts included by or under a name: as, the definition of a crime. See above Define; Definitio above.
Deforcement. An injury by ouster or privation of the freehold, where the entry of the present tenent or possessor was originally lawful, but his detainer has become unlawful. The holding of any lands or tenements to which another person hath a right. 3 Bl. Com. 172.

Delectus. Latin. Choice; selection. The right to choose the person or persons who shall participate in a business or enterprise requiring the exercise of mutual confidence.

Delectus personæ. Choice of person.
Delectus personarum. Choice of persons or the persons.
Delegatus. Latin. A person chosen or commissioned: a deputy, agent, representative, trustee.

Delegata. Deputied, empowered, entrusted.

Delegata potestas non potest delegari. Delegated authority cannot be re-delegated.
Delegatus non potest delegare. A deputy cannot deputize.
Delictum. Latin. From de-linquere, to leave a person or thing; then, to be wanting in a matter, fail in duty, offend, transgress. Compare Malus or Malum. A wrong, whether private or public: an offense, a civil injury or tort, a crime; also, simply a failing or fault, blame, guilt, culpability. 3 Bl. Com. 363; 1 Kent 552, 2 id. 211.

Corpus delicti. The body of the offense; the fact of a crime.
Ex delicto. Out of fault or a fault; arising from a tort or wrong - misconduct, negligence, crime.
Flagrante delicto. The offense still burning; in the heat of the offense: in the very act of perpetrating a crime or the crime. 4 Bl. Com. 307; 5 Cent. Law J. 880. Compare Crimen.
In pari delicto. In equal wrong: equal in guilt: equally guilty; equally to blame.
In pari delicto, melior est conditio possidentis. In equal fault, the better is the situation of the party in possession.
In pari delicto, potior est conditio defendentis. In equal fault, the stronger is the situation of the defendant.
Par delictum. Equal wrong: parity of unlawful conduct.
Propter delictum. On account of wrong - a crime or misdemeanor; as, a challenge of a juror for infamy. 3 Bl. Com. 363; 2 Kent 241. See Challenge.
Demand. 1. Any account upon which money or other thing is, or is claimed to be, due. Stringham v. Supervisors, 24 Wis. 600 (1869), Dixon, Chief Justice. A claim; a legal obligation. Hollen v. Davis, 59 Iowa 447 (1882); Code §3591. 2. A request, made under claim of right, to do some specified thing.

Cross-demand; counter-demand. A demand set up as against another demand on which claim is or can be made; a set-off, q.v.
Demandant. One who demands a thing as due; specifically, the plaintiff in a real action, as, partition.

Demesne. French: Latin dominium, ownership. Own, one's own; original.

Demesne land. Land reserved by the lord of a manor for the use of himself and household. 2 Bl. Com. 90.
Seized in his demesne as of fee. Formal words expressing the highest estate a subject can have in land. It is his property or dominicum, since it is for him and his heirs forever, not absolute, but in a qualified or feudal sense; and as of fee, because not purely and simply his own, since it is held of a feudal superior. 2 Bl. Com. 106.
Demise. French démettre, to put away, lay down: Latin dismittere, demittere. In a lease for years, creates an implied warranty of title and a covenant for quiet enjoyment. Scott v. Rutherford, 102 U.S. 109 (1875).

Demonstratio. Latin. A showing, pointing out; designation, description, demonstration, q.v.

Falsa demonstratio non nocet. Erroneous description does not vitiate. Spoken of as the maxim falsa demonstratio. The maxim is of universal application as far as it means that we may reject, as surplusage, a false description not vital to the subject of the controversy. Broom, Max. 629.
Falsa demonstratione legatum non perimi. By erroneous description a legacy is not destroyed. A bequest is not to be held void because of innacurate language used in speaking of it. Broom, Max. 645.
Democratic. See Government.

Demur. To object for legal insufficiency; to interpose a demurrer.

Demurrer. French demourer, to tarry, stay, hesitate: Latin de-morari, to delay fully, rest: mora, delay. A declaration that "the party will go no further, because the other has not showed sufficient matter against him;" imports that the objector will wait the judgment of the court whether he is bound to proceed. Leaves v. Bernard, 5 Mod. 132 (1696); 2 Ark. 117. An admission of the fact, submitting the law to the court. Havens v. Hartford R. Co., 28 Conn. 89-92 (1859). The tender of an issue in law upon the facts established by the pleading. Goodman v. Ford, 23 Miss. 595 (1852), Smith, C.J. In law, or at common law, an issue upon matter of law is called a "demurrer:" it confesses the facts to be true as stated by the opposite party, but denies that, by the law arising upon those facts, any injury is done to the plaintiff, or that the defendant has made out a legitimate excuse.

Denarius Dei. Latin. God's penny; money given to the church or to the poor; earnest-money, q.v.

Denizen. French deinzein, a trader "within" the privilege of a city franchise: deinz, within, -Skeat. An alien born who has obtained ex donatione regis letters-patent to make him a subject. 1 Bl. Com. 374.

Deposition. Latin de-ponere, to put, place; to lay down or aside. Sometimes is synonymous with "affadavit" or "oath;" but, in its more technical and appropriate sense, is limited to the written testimony of a witness given in the course of a judicial proceeding, at law or in equity. State v. Dayton, 23 N.J.L. 54 (1850).

Deprive. Referring to property taken under the power of eminent domain, means the same as "take". Sharpless v. Philadelphia, 21 Pa. 167 (1853); Grant v. Courter, 24 Barb. 238 (1857). While the Fourteenth Amendment ordains that no state shall "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law", no definition of the word "deprive" is found in the Constitution. See further Take.

Despoil. Imports the use of violence or of clandestine means to deprive a person of something he possesses. Sunol v. Hepburn, 1 Cal. 268 (1850).

Detinue. An action for depriving one of the possession of personality acquired originally by lawful means. The judgment is that the plaintiff recover the goods, or, if they cannot be had, then their respective values, and the damages rewarded for the detention. 3 Bl. Com. 151-52; Story, Eq. §§ 692-711, 906.

Dictum. Latin. A saying, observation, remark. Plural, dicta. 1. A voluntary statement; a comment. 2. An opinion expressed by a judge on a point not necessarily arising in a case. State v. Clarke, 3 Nev. 572 (1867), Beatty, C.J.

Gratis dictum. A gratuitous remark. A statement one is not required to make for which he is not liable in damages for injury traceable thereto. Medbury v. Watson, 6 Metc. 259 (1843); Gordon v. Parmelee, 2 Allen 214 (1861).
Obiter dicta. Such opinions, uttered "by the way", not upon the point or question pending, but as if turning aside for the time from the main topic to a collateral subject. Rohrback v. Germania Fire Ins. Co., 62 N.Y. 58 (1875), Folger, J. Often, simply, obiter or an obiter.

Dies. Latin. A day; the day.

Ad diem. At the day; on the very day: as, the ad diem demand of a bill. 101 U.S. 565.
Dies a quo. The day from which.
Dies ad quem. The day to which.
Dies dominicus. The Lord's day - Sunday.
Dies dominicus non est juridicus. Sunday is a non-judicial day – is not a day for court business, except as to the issue and return of criminal process.
Dies juridicus. A judicial or court day.
Quarto die post. On the fourth day thereafter.
Dilatory. Said of a defense or a plea that resists the plaintiff's present right of recovery by interposing some temporary objection, as that the court has no jurisdiction, that the plaintiff lacks capacity to sue. See 3 Bl Com. 301. A form of plea.

A Dictionary of Law (1893): Letter E


E contra. From the opposite side; on the contrary.

E converso. On the other hand; conversely.

Each. Every one of the two or more composing the whole.

Easement. French aise, ease, relief; assistance, accomodation, convenience. A service or convenience which one neighbor has of another, by character or prescription, without profit. Pest v. Pearsall, 22 Wend. 438 (1839). The right which one man has to use the land of another for a specific purpose. Jackson v. Trullinger, 9 Oreg. 397 (1881). The liberty, privilege, or advantage in land, without profit, distinct from an ownership in the soil. Jamaica Pond Aqueduct Corporation v. Chandler, 9 Allen 165 (1864).

The essential qualities of easements are: they are incorporeal; they are imposed upon corporeal property; they confer no right to participation in profits arising from such property; there must be two distinct tenements, the dominant, to which the right belongs, and the servient, upon which the obligation rests. Pierce v. Keater, 71 N.Y. 421 (1877).

Private easement. exists in favor of one or more individuals.

Public easement. Exists in favor of the people generally.

Education. Includes proper moral, as well as intellectual and physical, instruction. May be particularly directed to the mental, the moral or the physical powers and faculties, but in its broadest and best sense, relates to them all. Mount Hermon Boy's School v. Gill, 145 Mass. 148 (1887).

Ejusdem generis. Latin. Of the same kind or nature; the same class.

Eloign. French éloigner, to remove to a distance: L. Latin e-longe, far off. When the sheriff seeks to replevy goods distrained, and finds them carried out of the county, or concealed, he may return that they are eloigned, elongata, carried to a distance, to places to him unknown. See Capere, Capias.

Elopement. The act in a wife of voluntarily leaving her husband to live with another man.

Eminent. See Domain.

Emolument. Any perquisite, advantage, profit or gain arising from the possession of an office.

Emphyteusis. An estate in land, under the Roman law, analogous to a fee-farm, or perpetual lease, in English law. It gave the occupant, or his transferee, a perpetual lease, conditioned upon payment of rent, and perhaps improvement in the land. Whence emphyteutic, to engage, occupy.

En. In, into. 1. The French form of the English and Latin preposition in. 2. As a prefix, coincides with the Latin in.

En autre droit. In right of another.
En fait. In fact; in deed.
En owel main. In equal hand.
En route. On the way.
En ventre. In the womb; unborn.
Enclosure. Imports land enclosed with something more than the imaginary boundry line; – some visible or tangible obstruction, as, a fence, hedge, ditch, or an equivalent object, for the protection of the premises against encroachment. A tract of land, surrounded by a fence, together with such fence.

A Dictionary of Law (1893): Letter F


Facere. Latin. To make, do, perform, Compare Fieri.

Fac simile. Made like in appearance; a copy. [akin to modern day facsimile; fax, as in a fax machine].
Factum. A thing done; a fact. See Factum.
Qui facit per alium, facit per se. He who acts through another acts by himself. The act of the agent is the act of the principal - within the scope of the employment.

Fact. Anything done, or said; an act or action; an actual occurance; a circumstance; whatever comes to pass; an event. See Factum.

Subjects of jurisprudence are facts and laws: facts are the source and cause of laws. From facts proceed rights and wrongs. By fact is meant anything the subject of testimony. Perception is a fact. If any emotion is felt, as joy, grief, anger, the feeling is a fact. If the operation of the mind is productive of an effect, as intention, knowledge, skill, the possession of this effect is a fact. If any proposition be true, whatever is affirmed or denied in it is a fact. - Ram on Facts, Ch. I.

"Fact" is contrasted with "law". Law is a principle, fact is an event; law is conceived, fact is actual; law is a rule of duty, fact is that which accords with or contravenes the rule. - Abbott's Law Dictionary.

Facts, and evidence, are to be pleaded; and are proven by moral evidence. Questions of fact are said to be solved by the jury, questions of law by the court.

In fact. In reality; in a matter of fact. Opposed, in law; in a matter of law; empowered by law; imputed in law; as, an attorney in fact, and an attorney at-law; error or fraud in fact and in law. See Attorney; Error, 2 (2); Fraud; Pais.

Factum. Latin. A thing done; a deed; a fact. Compare Fait.

De facto. In point of fact: actual. Oppossed, de jure: by right, rightful.
Ex facto jus oritur. Out of the fact the law arises: the law attaches to facts.
Ex post facto. From an after fact - a subsequent matter; after the fact or act.
Factum probandum. The fact to be proved. -1 Greenlv. Ev. § 13.
Ipso facto. By the fact itself; by the mere fact; from the effect of the fact or act.
Faculty. A special privilege or license granted to a person permitting him to do something which otherwise the law would not allow.

Failure. 1. The state or condition of being wanting; a falling short; deficiency or lack; defect, want, absence; default; defeat. 2. Default; omission; neglect; non-performance; as, failure to perform a contract. 3. Inability to pay debts, from insolvency; suspension of payment: as, failure in business, a failing debtor.

Failure of consideration. Want or absence of a legal consideration.
Failure of evidence. Absence of legal evidence.
Failure of issue. Want or non-existence of descendants; more particularly, lack of issue who may take an estate limited over by an executory devise.
Failure of justice. Defeat of right and justice from want of legal remedy.
Failure of record. Neglect to produce a record relied upon in a plea.
Failure of title. Defect or want of title.
Failure of trust. Defeat of a proposed trust from want of constituting facts or elements or of law to effectuate the object.

Fait. French. A fact. Compare Factum. Before or at full age an infant may avoid a matter in fait; and a matter of record, during majority. - 1 Pars. Contr. 333.
Wife de fait. A wife de facto. [see Factum, de facto above].

Faith. Belief; confidence; reliance; credence; trust. Fair intent of purpose; honesty, openness, uprightness; sincerity; fidelity to a representation, promise, or duty.
Good faith. Honest, lawful intent; the condition of acting without knowledge of fraud and without intent to assist in a fraudulent or otherwise unlawful scheme.
Bad faith. Guilty knowledge or willful ignorance.

Fall. A life estate is sometimes said to "fall into", that is, to merge with the fee.

False; Falsus; Falsa. Latin. Deceptive; erroneous; false.
Crimen falsi. The offence of deceiving or falsifying. See further Crimen, Falsi.
Falsa demonstratio non nocet. An erroneous designation does not impair. See further Demonstratio.
Falsa grammatica non vitiat chartam. Bad grammar does not invalidate an instrument. See further Grammar.
Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus. False in one (particular), false in all. Deliberate falsehood in one matter will be imputed to related matters.

Fealty. Latin fidelitas: fides, confidence, trust faith. The oath or obligation of a vassal, under the feudal system, to be faithful to his lord and defend him against all enemies. -1 Bl. Com. 367; id 45, 53; 41 Pa. 499.
Federal. Latin fœdus, a league, treaty, compact. 1. Pertaining to a league or compact between independent sovereignties. 2. Composed of states which retain only a portion of their original sovereignty; relating to the constitution, treaties, or laws, or the power or government of the organization thereby formed.

Fee. 1. (1) In feudal law, an allotment of land in consideration of military service; land held of a superior, on condition of rendering him service, the ultimate property remaining in him. Oppossed to allodium. See Allodial. (2) An estate of inheritance - the highest and most extensive interest a man can have in a feud.

Fee-simple. An absolute inheritance, clear of any condition, limitation or restriction to particular heirs, but descendible to the heirs general, whether male or female, lineal or collateral.

Tenent in fee-simple, or tenent in fee, is he that has lands, tenements, or hereditaments, to hold to him and his heirs forever - generally, absolutely and simply; without mentioning what heirs, but referring that to his own pleasure or to the disposition of the law. 2 Bl. Com. 106, 105.

"An estate in fee-simple is where a man has an estate in land or tenements to him and his heirs forever." Called a "fee-simple" because it signified a pure inheritance, clear of any qualification or condition. It is an estate of perpetuity, and confers an unlimited power of alienation. 4 Kent, 5; 1 Barb 575; 11 Wend. 277; 12 Johns 177; 52 Me. 261; 54 id. 426; 2 Oreg. 32; 42 Vt. 690; 23 N.J. E, 303.

A "fee-simple" is the largest estate a man can have in lands, being an absolute estate in perpetuity. The essential matter is that such an estate is so brought into existence that it may continue forever.

Female; Feme; Femme. French. A woman; a wife. Feme is the older form: Latin femella, femina, a young woman. Plural, femes, femmes.
Feme covert or Feme-covert. A married woman. By marriage, husband and wife are one person in law. Under his protection and "cover", she does everything; and is therefore called in law a feme covert (french); while her condition is called "coverture". 1 Bl. Com. 442; 2 id. 292, 433, 497; 32 Barb. 258; 63 Ill. 162; 21 How. 589.

Feme sole or Feme-sole. A single woman; one who has never been married, who has been judicially separated from her husband, or whose mariage has been disolved by divorce from, or by the death of, the husband. A married woman who, in matters of property, is independent of her husband, is a feme sole as to such property, and may deal with it as if she were unmarried. Taylor v. Meads, 34 L.J. Ch. 207 (1865).

Feoffment. 1. The gift of a feud; infeudation. See Feud. 2. The gift of any corporeal hereditament by delivery of possession upon or within view of the land. 2 Bl. Com. 310; 3 N.H. 260.
Enfeoff. To give a feud.
Feoffor. The grantor of a feud.
Feoffee. The grantee of a feud.

The most ancient method of conveyance. The aptest word was "do" or "dedi", I give or have given. As the personal abilities of the feoffee were the inducement, his estate was confined to his person, and subsisted for life. By a feoffment, later, a fee-simple was frequently created. With livery of seisin, the feoffee had an estate at will. At present, land is transferred only by deed or will.

Feud. Latin fides, faith; and Teut. ead, odh, or od, property, estate in land, - or, vieh, cattle, property; i.e., land held on pecuniary consideration: A.S. feah, cattle. Land held of a superior, on condition of rendering him service. Opposed to allodium, the absolute or ultimate property, which continued to reside in the superior. 2 Bl. Com. 103. See Allodial. A tract of land held by a voluntary and gratuitous donation, on condition of fidelity and certain services. Wallace v. Harmstad, 44 Pa. 499 (1863).

The constitution of feuds originated in the military policy of the Celtic nations, a policy which was continued in their acquisitions after the fall of the Roman empire. To secure those acquisitions, large districts of land were allotted by the conquering general to his superior officers, and by them, in smaller parcels, to the inferior officers and most deserving soldiers. These allottments were called feods, feoda, feoffs, feus, fiefs, fieus, and fees - conditional stipends or rewards. The condition annexed was, that the possessor should do service faithfully, at home and in war, to him by whom they were given; for which purpose he took the oath of fealty, and for a breach of this condition and oath, by not performing the stipulated service or by deserting the lord in battle, the lands were to revert to him who granted them. 2 Bl. Com. 45-46.

Fictitious. 1. Not real; feigned: as, a fictitious - action, case, issue, name, party, payee. 2. Imaginary; unsubstancial: as, fictitious bail. 3. Not made in good faith: as, a fictitious bid.
A fictitious case is a suit brought upon facts with respect to which no real controversy exists. Any attempt, by a mere colorable dispute, or where the appellant has become the sole party in interest, to get up a case for the opinion of the court, where there is no real and substancial controversy, is an abuse reprehended by the couts, and punishable as a contempt. 1 Black, 426 (1861).

Fides. Latin. Trust, confidence, reliance; credence, belief, faith.
Bona fides. Good faith.
Bona fide. In, with, or by good faith.
Mala fides. Bad faith.
Mala fide. In, with, or by bad faith.
Uberrima fides. The best faith, the severest faith.
Uberrima fide. With the strictest good faith. See Faith.
Fides servanda. Faith must be kept; the good faith of a transaction will be given effect. A maxim with regard to sales of personalty. If there is no express warranty, general rules of implication should be adopted with this maxim in view. A warranty will be implied only when good faith requires it. McCoy v. Artcher, 3 Barb. 330 (1848).

Fieri. Latin. To be done; to be made. Compare Facere.
In fieri. In the course of being done; not yet completed. Opposed, in esse.

Fiat. Let it be done. An order or allowance by a judge or court.
Fiat justitia. Let justice be done.
Fifteenth Amendment. See Citizen.

Figures. Numerals. Arabic, 1893; Roman, MDCCCXCIII. It is considered better to date formal instruments by writing the day and the year in words; and to write in words in the body of a bill, note, or receipt the sum for which it is given.
Filial. See Emancipation; Parent.

Filiation. The relation or tie between a child and its parent, especially its father; also, ascertainment of paternity, affiliation.
Affiliation. Judicial determination of paternity - that a man is the father of a bastard. See Filius.

Filius. Latin. A child; a son.
Filius nullius. The child of nobody.
Filius populi. The child of the people. A bastard.
Filum. Latin. A thread; a line – the middle line of a stream or road. The imaginary line drawn through a stream or highway at which the titles of the opposite owners presumably meet.

Medium filum aquœ. The middle line of the water.
Medium filum viœ. The middle line of the road.
Flagrante bello. War raging: during hostilities.

Flagrante crimine or delicto. While the offense is being perpetrated: in the very act.

Fœdus. See Federal.

Foreign. French forain, alien, strange: Latin foras, out of doors, abroad. That which belongs or pertains to another country, nation, or sovereignty; or to another State, or division of a State- See Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, 5 Pet. 56 (1881).

Forgery. At common law, the fraudulent making or alteration of a writing to the prejudice of another man's right. 4 Bl. Com. 217.

Forswear. To swear falsely.

Forum cœli. The court of heaven.

Forum domicilli. The court of one's domicil.

Forum seculare. A secular court.

Frank. French franc, free. "To frank" is to set free.

Franktenement. A freehold. See Feud.

Free. Not subject to restraint or control; having freedom of will; at liberty; also, that on which no charge is made. Compare with Frank. Liberated from control of a parent, guardian, or master; sui juris. Certain; honorable; becoming a freeman.

Freeman. One born or made free as to civil rights.

Freehold. The possessions of soil by a freeman. such estate as requires actual possession of the land. An estate in real property, of inheritance or for life; or, the term by which it is held. Any estate of inheritance or for life, in real property, whether it be a corporeal or incorporeal hereditament, 4 Kent 21. Also, the land itself. See Abatement.

Freeholder. The actual owner of land. One who has title to real estate, irrespective of the amount or value thereof.

Freehold estate. 1. Of inheritance-(a) absolute, as tenancy in fee-simple; (b) limited: qualified or base, and conditional - later, fees-tail. 2. Not of inheritance. These are chattel interests in lands. They are for life, and either conventional or legal; the lowest species is the estate for the life of another. See Fee; Feud.

Frivolous. Is applied to an answer, plea, or objection which upon its face is clearly insufficient in law, and apparently made for purposes of delay or to embarrass an advesary.

Fructus legis. The fruit of the law - execution.

A Dictionary of Law (1893): Letter G


Gallon. The gallon of our commerce conforms to the old wine-measure of two hundred and thirty-one cubic inches. 16 Op. Att.-Gen. 359 (1879).

Government. Old French govener; Latin gubernare, to steer a ship, to rule. Whence "ship of state." 1. The controlling power in society. 1 Sharswood, Bl. Com. 48. The aggregate of authorities which rule a society. Francis Lieber; 1 Bouv. 715. That form of fundamental rules by which the members of a body politic regulate their social action, and the administration of public affairs, according to established constitutions, laws, and usages. Winspear v. Township of Holman, 37 Iowa 544 (1873). 2. The state, the commonwealth, the people; as, in criminal practice. 3. In a commercial sense "governments" signifies securities of government, State or United States. The object of government is to secure to the governed the right to pursue their own happiness; that is, the happiness of the individuals who compose the mass. In this consists civil liberty. 1 Sharswood, Bl. Com. 127, 128.

Constitutional government. Applies to a state whose fundamental rules and maxims not only define how those shall be chosen or designated to whom the exercise of sovereign powers shall be confided, but also impose efficient restraints on the exercises for the purpose of protecting individual rights and privileges, and shielding them against any assumption of arbitrary power. Calhoun, Works I, II; Cooley, Principles Const. Law 22.
Government de facto. A government that unlawfully gets possession and control of the rightful legal government, and maintains itself there, by force and arms, against the will of the rightful government, and claims to exercise the powers thereof. A government de facto is such as exists after it has expelled the regularly constituted authorities in their places, so as to represent in fact the sovereignty of the nation.
Government de jure. The rightful, legal government. Chisholm v. Coleman, 43 Ala. 213 (1869) Peck, C.J.

A Dictionary of Law (1893): Letter H


H. C. Habeas corpus; or, House of Commons.

Habeas corpus. That you have the body. The emphatic words of several common-law writs issued to bring persons into court for a designated purpose.

Habeas corpus faciendum et recipiendum. That you have the body for doing and receiving. Removes an action into a superior court: commands the judge of the inferior court to produce the body of the defendant, with a statement of the cause of his detention (when called, also, habeas corpus cum causa), to do and to receive whatever the higher court shall decree.
Habeas corpus ad prosequendum. That you have the person for prosecuting. Removes a prisoner to the jurisdiction wherein it is alleged he commited a crime.
Habeas corpus ad respondendum. That you have the person for answering. Removes a prisoner that he may be charged with a new action in a higher court.
Habeas corpus ad satisfaciendum. That you have the person for satisfaction. Removes a prisoner into a superior court that he may be charged with process of execution.
Habeas corpus ad testificandum. That you have the person for testifying. Removes a person from a place of detention that he may give testimony before a court.
Habeas corpus ad subjiciendum. That you have the body for submitting to and receiving. Commands the person who has another in detention to produce the body of the prisoner, with the day and cause of his caption and detention, to do, submit to, and receive whatever the judge or court awarding the writ shall consider in that behalf. 3 Bl. Com. 130. This great and efficacious prerogative writ, is commonly called The Writ of Habeas Corpus. It is the best and only sufficient defense of personal freedom. 8 Wall. 95 (1868).
Habendum. To have; for having. See Habere.

Habendum et tenendum. to have and to hold.
Habere. Latin. To grasp, lay hold of: to have, hold. See Habendum.

Habere facias possessionem. That you cause to have possession.
Habere facias soisinam. That you cause to have seizin.
Habere facias visum. That you cause to have a view.
Habilis. Having: Capable, suitable. By the canon law, if the parties are habiles ad matrimonium, it is a good mariage, whatever their ages.

Habitancy. Embraces the fact of residence at a place, together with the intent to regard it and make it a home.

Habitation. See Dwelling.

Hæreditas. Inheritance.

Hæres. Latin. Heir. In Roman law, resembled an executor in English law. See Heir.

Hæres factus. An heir by appointment; a devisee. 18 Pa. 43 (1819).

Hæres natus. An heir born; an heir by descent.

Hæret in cortice. See Litera Qui heret.

Hanaper. L.L. hanaperium, a large vase; a vessel to keep cups in; hanapus, a cup, bowl. Whence the word hamper. A bag or basket, kept in offices of the court of chancery to receive dues paid for the seals of charters, patents, commissions, and writs; then, the exchequer of chancery.

Have. See May, May have. "To have and to hold," in a deed, defines the extent of ownership in the matter granted.

Heir. See Hæres. At common law, he upon whom the law casts an estate immediately on the death of the ancestor. 2 Bl. Com. 201. Uncontrolled by the context, the person appointed by law to succeed to the real estate in case of intestacy. 88 Ill. 256 (1878). "Heir" is a word of law; "son", "child", and the like, are words of nature.

Collateral heir. A relative not of the direct line of descent, but of a collateral line.
Heir apparent. He whom right of inheritance is indefeasable, provided he outlives the ancestor. 2 Bl. Com. 208.
Heir at law; Heir at common law; Heir general. He upon whom the law casts the reality of an intestate. 2 Wall. Jr. 433-38 (1853).
Heir of the body; Natural heir. An heir begotten of the body; a lineal descendant. 19 Conn. 111 (1848).
Heiress. A female heir; but, in law-language, "heir" includes both sexes. At common law, "heir" is a word of inheritance, necessary to the grant of an estate larger than a life interest. 96 U.S. 68 (1877).

Hereditament. Anything that may be inherited, be it corporeal or incorporeal, real, personal, or mixed. 5 Conn. 518; 13 N.Y. 159.

Corporeal hereditament. Such thing as affects the senses, as may be seen and handled.
Incorporeal hereditament. Is not the object of sensation, can neither be seen nor handled; is a creature of the mind, exists only in contemplation. 2 Bl. Com. 17-18.
Hold. To decide, adjudge, decree. Whence also freehold and leasehold. "Holding", relating to ownership in property, embraces two idea: actual possession of some subject of property, and being invested with the legal title. It may be applied to anything the subject of property, in law or in equity. 7 S.C. 99 (1875).

Holder. One who has possession of anything. Once who possesses by virtue of a lawful title.

Home. Where a person takes up his abode, without any present intention to remove therefrom permanently. 43 Me. 418 (1857). See further Abode; Domicil; House; Residence.

Homestead. The home-stall, home-place. The dwelling-house, at which the family resides, with the usual and customary appurtenances, inclusing outbuildings of every kind necessary and convenient for family use, and lands used for the purposes thereof. 33 Cal. 277 (1867). Whence homesteader.

House. A dwelling-house; a building divided into floors and apartments, with four walls, a roof, doors, and chimneys. Involves the ideas of an edifice or structure, and the abode or residence of human beings. May mean "messuage" – land and structure, as in a will, and in statutes exempting property from taxation. 4 Pa. 101 (1846).

Ancient house. A house which has stood for twenty years.
House-breaking. Breaking and entering the dwelling-house of another with intent to commit a felony therein, irrespective of the time of day.

Household. A family; also, pertaining or appropriate to a house or family; household furniture, goods, stuff. Persons who dwell together as a family.

Householder. The head of a household; the person who has charge of, and provides for, a family or household. 14 Barb. 458 (1852).

Hundred. A civil division of a county.Consisted of ten tithings. So called, because it was equal to a hundred hides of land; or because it furnished one hundred men i time of war.1 Bl. Com. 116.

Husband. A man who has a wife; a man legally bound in wedlock to a wife. "Husband and wife" describes persons connected by the marriage tie, and the relation signifies those mutual rights and obligations which flow from the marriage contract. 5 Barb. 118 (1849). At common law, husband and wife are one person at law, and he is that person; that is, the legal existence of the woman is suspended or at least incorporated into that of the husband, under whose protection she performs everything. Hence, he cannot grant her anything, nor contract with her; but she can be his agent, and take a bequest from him. She is always under his power. He is liable for her frauds, torts, and breaches of trust. He, she, or both, may have a remedy for an injury to her person or reputation. 22 Wis. 110 (1867).

Hush-money. See Blackmail.

A Dictionary of Law (1893): Letter I


I. e. (Usually i.e.) Id est, that is (to say).

IOU. Greek hypothesis, a placing under; supposition. "I owe you". A popular designation of a due-bill or memorandum of debt. Consist's of those letters, a sum of money, and the debtor's signature. As it contains no direct promise to pay, it is not a promissory note, but a mere acknowledgment of indebtedness.

A Dictionary of Law (1893): Letter J


JAC. Jacobus: James, king James.

A Dictionary of Law (1893): Letter K


Keep the peace. To avoid disturbing the peace; to prevent others from breaking the peace.

A Dictionary of Law (1893): Letter L


L.F. Law French; levari facias.

L.S. Latin locus sigilli, place of the seal. See Seal, place of.

Land. 1. Comprehends all things of a permanent, substancial nature; being a word of very extensive signification. Conn. 517; 9 Id. 377. Real property; realty. All corporeal hereditaments – ground, soil or earth, with all objects under or upon the same, as trees, herbage, water, minerals, buildings. By the simple word "land" everything terrestrial passes. 2 Bl. Com. 16. 2. Place; country; sovereignty; territorial jurisdiction: as in inland, law of the land.

Land warrant. The evidence in writing which the state, on good consideration, gives that the person therein named (the warantee) is entitled to the quantity of land specified. Neal v. East Tennessee College, 6 Yerg. 205 (1834). The issue of the warrant and the rights of the warrantee are regulated by statute. A warrant descriptive of the land confers title from date, if followed up with diligence in obtaining a survey. Fox v. Lyon, 27 Pa. 9 (1856).

Landmark. See Mark, 1 (2); Monument, 1.

Latent. Latin latens; latere, to lie hid. 1. Not observable; not apparent: as, latent defrects in an article of merchandise or machinery, or in an animal. See Caveat, Emptor; Negligence. 2. Applying equally to two or more different things; opposed to patent: as, a latent ambiguity.

Law. Latin lex. 1. A rule of action dictated by a superior being. 1 Bl. Com. 38. The command of a superior. 1 Shars. Bl. Com. 39. 2. In an important use "law" excludes the methods and remedies peculiar to equity and admiralty, and confines the idea to the action of tribunals proceeding by fixed rules, and employing remedies operative directly upon the person or property of the individual; as, in the expressions; a court of law, a remedy at law, an action at law, at law. Abbott's Law Dictionary. Compare Common Law.

The term "law" accompanies many common words as a prefix or adjective, in senses largely self-explanatory; as, law-adviser, law-clerk, law-firm, law-maxims, or law-judge.
Maxims: The contract makes the law. The law aids the vigilant; forces no one to do a vain, useless, or impossible thing; injures no one – never works and injury; does nothing in vain; regards not trifles; regards equity; always gives a remedy; speaks to all with one mouth – is no respecter of persons. What is just and right is the law of laws.

Common law. The law common to all the realm. A collection of maxims and customs, of higher antiquity than memory or history can reach. 1 Bl. Com. 67; 2 Id. 95. Nothing else but custom arising from the universal agreement of the whole community. Custom handed down by tradition, use, and experience. 1 Bl. Com. 17. See Unwritten Law.
The term may be used in distinction to "statute law", to "equity law", and the "Roman law" or "civil law". Every country has its common law. Ours is composed partly of the common law of England, and partly of our own usages. When our ancestors emigrated from England they took with them such of the English principles as were convenient for the situation in which they were about to place themselves... By degrees, as circumstances demanded, we adopted the English usages, or substituted others better suited to our wants, till at length, before the time of the revolution, we had formed a system of our own, founded in general on the English constitution, but not without considerable variations.
The [Federal] United States has no common law. The power of the United States is expressed in the Constitution, laws, and treaties. The laws of the Federal government, as stated, are embodied in the Constitution, acts of Congress, and treaties made by its authority. Nor have the Federal courts jurisdiction of common law offenses. The Federal courts do not enforce the common law in municipal matters in the States because it is Federal law, but because it is the law of the State. The common law is necessarily referred to by the Federal authorities for definitions. Each State may have its own local customs and common law. The old common law is the basis of all State laws, modified as each sees fit.
The common law being the substratum of the jurisprudence of the Thirteen States by which the Constitution was adopted, and the framers being educated under it, the terms of the instrument are to be construed by the common law. 1 Shars. Bl. Com. 66-67. The interpretation of the Constitution is necessarily influenced by the fact that its provisions are framed in the language of the English common law, and are to be read in the light of its history. It [common law] consists of a few comprehensive principles, founded on reason, natural justice, and enlightened public policy, modified and adapted to the circumstances of all the cases which fall within it.

Civil law. The law of citizens: the law which the people of a state ordain for their own government. By "the civil law", absolutely taken, is understood the civil or municipal law of the Roman empire, as comprised in the institute, code, and digest of the emperor Justinian, and the novel constitutions of himself and predecessors. 1 Bl. Com. 80, 14.

Divine law or revealed law. The law of nature imparted by God Himself. 1 Bl. Com. xxiv, 39-43.

Foreign law. A law of another sovereignty or nation. The courts of one state not being presumed to know, are not bound to take judicial notice of the laws of another State. In this respect, they are foreign to each other.

General law. Relates to a whole genus or kind, to a whole class or order. Opposed, local or special law.

International law or law of nations. The law which regulates the conduct and mutual intercourse of independent states with each other by reason and natural justice. 1 Bl. Com. xxiv, 43.

Law of the land. (1) The general public law of a State, binding upon all the members of the community under all circumstances, and not partial or private laws affecting the rights of private individuals or classes of individuals. 61 Ill. 118; 5 Mich. 254; 50 Miss. 479; 48 N.H. 61; 20 Barb. 199. Also, due process of law.

Municipal law. The rule of civil conduct prescribed by the supreme power in a state, commanding what is right and prohibiting what is wrong; also, the laws of a locality. 1 Bl. Com. 44; 15 Barb. 114. Defines the just and necessary limits of natural liberty. 1 Shars. Bl. Com. 127. A city ordinance is not a law in this sense.
Natural law, or law of nature. The rule of human action prescribed by the Creator, and discoverable by the light of reason. 1 Bl. Com. xxiv, 39-43.

Organic law. The fundamental law of a community or state, whether written or unwritten.

Positive law. May refer to law actually existing at a given time, or to enacted law.

Public law. (1). International law. (2). A law involving public interests.

Unwritten law. The municipal laws of England are: (1) the unwritten or common law, which includes customs, general and particular, and particular laws. General customs, or the common law properly so called, are founded on immemorial universal usage, whereof judicial decisions are the evidence. Particular laws are such as, by special custom, are adopted and used only in particular courts, and under the control of the common and statute laws; namely, the Roman civil and Canon [church] laws.

Written or statute law. The municipal laws of England are: (2) the written or statute law; being acts of legislative bodies, to only supply what is defective, or to amend only what is amiss, in the unwritten laws. 1 Bl. Com. 63-91, xxiv. See Statute.
Lawful. In accordance with the law of the land; according to the law; permitted, sanctioned, or justified by law. "Lawful" properly implies a thing conformable to or enjoined by law; "Legal", a thing in the form or after the manner of law or binding by law. A writ or warrant issuing from any court, under color of law, is a "legal" process however defective. See legal.

Legal. Latin legalis. Pertaining to the understanding, the exposition, the administration, the science and the practice of law: as, the legal profession, legal advice; legal blanks, newspaper. Implied or imputed in law. Opposed to actual. "Legal" looks more to the letter, and "Lawful" to the spirit, of the law. "Legal" is more appropriate for conformity to positive rules of law; "Lawful" for accord with ethical principle. "Legal" imports rather that the forms of law are observed, that the proceeding is correct in method, that rules prescribed have been obeyed; "Lawful" that the right is actful in substance, that moral quality is secured. "Legal" is the antithesis of "equitable", and the equivalent of "constructive". 2 Abbott's Law Dict. 24.

Leges. See Lex.

Legislate. Latin lex, legis, law; latio, a proposing. To make a law or laws; to exercise sovereignty.

Letters of marque and reprisal. See Marque.

Letters patent. Open letters; an unsealed document addressed by a government to all persons whom it may concern. Opposed, letters close: a document directed to a particular person, for some special purpose, and therefore closed up and sealed. Letters patent evidence grants from the government, as, of land, or a franchise. 2 Bl. Com. 316. See further Patent, Grant.

Levant et Ciuchant. Latin levantes et cubantes. Rising up and lying down. Where lands are not sufficiently fenced to keep out cattle, the landlord, at common law, cannot distrain them until thay have been long enough on the land to have lain down and risen up to feed – one night at the least. After that period, the law presumes that the owner may have notice that his cattle have strayed, and it is negligence not to have taken them away.

Lex. Latin. That which is laid, or fixed; the law. In Roman law, often synonymous with jus; also, a written law, a statute, an enactment; the law of the Twelve Tables. In old English law, a collection of laws; as, the Roman or civil law. Lex denoted law in its concerete sense; jus, in the general or abstract sense; like loi and droit in French, and gesetz and recht in German.

A verbis legis non est recedendum. From the words of the law let there be no departing.
De minimis non curat lex. The law does not concern itself with trifles.
Ita lex scripta est. The law is so written. The law, as enacted, must be applied.
Lex domicilli. The law of the place of domicil.
Lex fori. The law of the forum: the place where a remedy is sought.
Lex loci. The law of the place.
Lex mercatoria. The law-merchant. See Merchant.
Lex neminem cogit ad vana seu inutilia peragenda. The law forces no one to do vain or useless things. Broom, Max. 242-51.
Lex non cogit impossibilia. The law does not require impossible things. Broom, Max. 242.
Lex non scripta. The unwritten law; the law of custom; the common law.
Lex scripta. The written law; statute law. 1 Bl. Com. 63.
Lex rei sitæ. The law of the place where the thing in dispute is situated. See Lex loci.
Lex solutionis. The law of the place of performance.
Lex talionis. The law of retaliation.
Lex terræ. The law of the land.
Lex vigilantibus favet. The law sustains the watchful.
Salus populi, suprema lex. The welfare of the people is the highest law.
Silent leges inter arma. Laws are silent amidst arms. The law of military necessity supersedes all civil law. In time of war administration of the municipal law may be suspended. See Martial law.
Libel. Middle English libel, a brief writing: Latin libellus, a little book, a pamphlet; Libellus famosus, a defamatory pamphlet, 4 Bl. Com. 150. In the civil law, the declaration of an action. In ecclesiatical law, the formal complaint. 3 Bl. Com. 100. Slander by written or printed words, pictures, signs, or the like. 3 Bl. Com. 125.

Libelant. The person who institutes proceedings in an ecclesiastical court, in a court of divorce, or in admiralty.

Liberty. Latin libertas: liber, free. The condition of a freeman; freedom from restraint; freedom.

Natural liberty. Consists in the power of acting as one thinks fit, without any restrain or control, unless by the laws of nature. 1 Bl. Com. 125. "Moral liberty" or "natural liberty" is the right which nature gives to all mankind of disposing of their persons or property after the manner they judge most consonant to their happiness, on condition of their acting within the limits of the law of nature, and that they do not in any way abuse it to the prejudice of any other man.
Political or civil liberty. The power of doing whatever the laws permit.1 Bl. Com. 6. "Civil liberty" is the power of doing whatever we will, except when restrained by just and equal laws. "Political liberty" is that condition in which a man's civil liberty is fully secured. 1 Shars. Bl. Com. 6.
Personal liberty. Consists in the power of locomotion, of changing situation, or moving one's person to whatever place one's own inclination may direct, without imprisonment or restraint, unless by due course of law. 1 Bl. Com. 131. Next in importance to personal security. Violated by false imprisonment. The right forbids that a man be excluded from his country unless by sentence of law. 3 Bl. Com 127; 1 id. 124, 137.

License. French licence: Latin licentia, freedom to act: licere, to be left free, to be allowable. Permission or authority: as, a license to do a particular thing. 22 How. 240. See Permit. "A mere license passes no interest...only makes an action lawful, which, without it, would have been unlawful". 3 Story 162 (1811); 1 Vaugh. 351 (1706). In popular understanding, a permission to do something which without the license would not be allowed. This is also the legal meaning. 32 Mich. 419 (1875). Evidence of permission to exercise a trade or calling in consequence of the payment of a tax or duty. 3 Wall. 443 (1865). A license issued under the Act of Congress of June 30, 1864, "to provide internal revenue", conveys no authority to carry on the business within a State. The requirement of paying for such a license is only a mode of imposing taxes on the business. License Tax Cases, 5 Wall. 462 (1862). The power to license is a police power, although it may also be exercised for the purpose of raising revenue. 107 U.S. 373 (1882); 38 Ohio St. 225 (1882).
Lidford Law. See Lynch Law.

Lis. A dispute, a controversy; a suit at law.

Lis alibi pendens. An action pending elsewhere: a plea that a suit is pending in another court for the same cause of action.
Lis mota. A controversy begun.
Lis pendens. A suit in progress: a suit pending. Pendente lite. While a suit pends; during the continuance of litigation. Lis pendens is said to be general notice to all the world. The doctrine rests upon public policy, rather than upon notice: the law does not allow parties to give to others, pending the litigation, rights to property in dispute so as to prejudice the opposite party.
Litis contestatio. A statement in denial; a defense: as, a general answer of denial; in admiralty, a joinder of general issue. See 3 Bl. Com. 296.
Litis dominus. See Dominus.
Litis magister. He who controls a suit. 37 N.J.E. 397.
Litera. Latin. letter; written character, Literœ. Letters, writings, documents.

Qui hæret in litera, hæret in cortice. He who clings to the letter, sticks in the bark. He who regards the mere words of an instrument cannot arrive at its meaning. 2 Bl. Com. 879; 118 U.S. 538.
Locum. See Locus.

Locus. Latin. Place: locality, territory, jurisdiction; stead, situation; space, room, period; opportunity.

Locum tenens. Holding the place; a representative.
Locus contractus. The place of contract; where a contract is made or is to be performed.
Locus criminis. The place of crime; where a crime was perpetrated.
Locus delicti. The place of wrong; where an offense was committed.
Locus in quo. The place in which: where an alleged thing was done, as, a trespass commited; or, where land in dispute lies – the place in question.
Locus poenitentiæ. Place for repentance: an interval or opportunity in which to reconsider and withdraw, as, from a proposed contract, or from an unlawful action.
Locus regit actum. The place governs the act: the law of the locality regulates the thing to be done. 91 U.S. 406.
Locus rei sitæ. The place of the situation of a thing.
Locus sigilli. Place of the seal.
Locus standi. Place for standing: right to be heard. 93 U.S. 277.
Lynch Law. The action of private individuals, organized bodies of men, or disorderly mobs, who, without legal authority, punish by hanging, or otherwise, real or suspected criminals, without trial according to the forms of law. American lexicographers refer to the origin of the term to the practice, in the seventeenth century, of a Virginia farmer named Lynch. Others trace it to the act of one Lynch, mayor and warden of Galway, Ireland, in 1493, who "hanged his own son out of the window for defrauding and killing strangers, without martial or common law." Others, again, trace it to the Anglo-Saxon, linch, to beat with a club, to chastise.

A Dictionary of Law (1893): Letter M


Malum. Evil, an evil, a wrong. Plural mala. See also Malus below.

Malum in se. Evil in itself; an act pernicious in its very nature.
Malum prohibitum. A forbidden evil; an act made wrong by legislation.
Malus. Latin. Bad; evil.

Mala. Bad; in or with that which is bad, evil, unlawful.
Mala fides. Bad faith; opposed to bona fides, good faith.
Mala grammatica. Bad grammar.
Mala mens. Bad mind: fraudulent or criminal intention.
Mala praxis. Bad treatment; malpractice.
Malo. With or in bad, evil, unlawful.
Malo animo. With bad intent; maliciously.
Malo sensu. In the bad meaning. See Slander.
Marriage. French mariage: Latin maritare: maritus, a husband. The private relation which includes the reciprocal duties of husband and wife. 1 Bl. Com. 433. An engagement by which a single man and a single woman of sufficient discretion take each other for husband and wife. Milford v. Worcester, 7 Mass. 52 (1810), Parsons, Chief Justice. Marriage is the most important transaction of life; It is the basis of the entire fabric of all civilized society. Randall v. Kreiger, 23 Wall. 147 (1874), Swayne, J. To a valid marriage, consent is all that is necessary. If made per verba de præsenti, by words in the present tense, though not consummated by cohabitation, or per verba de futuro, by words of the future tense, and followed by consummation, it amounts to a valid marriage, in the absence of civil regulations to the contrary. It may be proved by reputation, declarations, conduct and other circumstances usually accompanying the relation - 1 Bl. Com. 439; and by what would be proof where the marriage took place. Patterson v. Gaines, 6 How. 587 (1818).

Marriage license. An official permit to marry.
Mixed marriage. A union between persons of different races; in particular, between a Caucasian and an African. A State may forbid whites and blacks to inter-marry. The XIVth Amendment does not prohibit such legislation. Green v. State, 58 Ala. 192-97 (1877); 59 id. 60.
Martial. Latin mars, god of war. Belonging to war, or to an army or a navy.

Martial law. The law of military necessity in the actual presence of war, administered by the general of the army. Martial law is built upon no settled principles, but is entirely arbitrary in its decisions. In reality it is no law, but something indulged rather than allowed as law. The necessity of order and discipline in the army alone gives it countenance; therefore, it is not permitted in time of peace, when the courts are open for all persons to receive justice according to the laws of the land. See Mitchell v. Harmony, 13 How. 128 (1851). "Martial Law" is exercised over all classes of persons indiscriminately, in the actual presence of war.

Monument. Latin monere, to remind, advise. 1. A memorial; a permanent landmark. 2. Something designed to perpetrate the memory of a person or event.

Artificial monument. A mark made by man; as, a post, or a clearing.
Mural monument. A memorial made in a wall.
Natural monument. Some natural object, like a spring, a stream, or a tree.


A Dictionary of Law (1893): Letter O


Oyer. Pronounced ó-yer. L.F. oyer; L. audire, to hear. At common law, a defendant may “crave oyer” of the writ, bond or other specialty upon which the action is brought; that is, petition to “hear” it read.

The generality of defendants, in times of simplicity, being supposed incapable to read, the whole of an instrument sued upon was entered verbatim on the record. The defendant could then take advantage of any part not stated in the declaration. 3 Bl. Com. 299.

Oyer occurs where the plaintiff in his declaration, or the defendant in his plea, finds it necessary to make profert [production] of a deed, probate, letters of administration, or other instrument under seal, and the other party prays that it may be read to him. The effect is to make the instrument a part of the pleadings. Suydam v. Williamson, 20 How. 436 (1857), Clifford, J.; 58 N.H. 313.

Giving a copy, or acting forth the instrument in full, - the modern practice, - attains the end sought by oyer, as originally understood. When the court deems that knowledge of the contents of a particular writing is proper and essential to a party to a suit, it may order that he have a copy, although the writing being unsealed is, strictly, not the subject of oyer. Mealey v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 23 F.R. 25 (1885), in which case the court refused to direct the defendant to file the application and the medical examination in the clerk’s office. See also Sneed v. Wister, 8 Wheat. 695 (1823); 1 Chitty, Pl. 430.

Oyez; Oyes.. Norm. French oyez; oyer, to hear. Hear ye! Give heed; attend. Public criers began by exclaiming oyez, – corrupted into O yes! Still used by the criers of courts to command attention when a proclamation is about to be made. See 4 Bl. Com. 269.

A Dictionary of Law (1893): Letter P


P.C. Patent cases; penal code; pleas of the crown; political code; practice cases; precedents in chancery.

P.L. Pamphlet laws; poor laws; public laws.

P.P. Propria persona, in his own person.

P.S. Public statutes.

Pack. To "pack" a jury is to improperly and corruptly select a jury sworn and impaneled to try a cause. 100 U.S. 309; 11 Lea, 284; Mix v. Woodward, 12 Conn. 289 (1837).

Pact or Pactum. An agreement, engagement. In Roman law, a pact was the utmost product of the engagements of individuals agreeing among themselves, and it distinctly fell short of a contract.

Nude Pact or Nudum Pactum. An agreement to do or pay anything on one side without compensation on the other; a promise without a consideration. 2 Bl. Com. 445.

Ex nudo pacto non oritur actio. From a bare agreement no action arises; no cause of action can be based upon a mere promise, without a legal consideration.
Pais; Pays. French. Country.

Cry de pais. Hue and cry raised by the country.
En or in pais. In the country; out of court; in fact; said of a matter not of record, as, an estoppel. See also Deed.
Por pais. By the country, by a jury. 9 Ex. 69 (1874).
Paper title. Describes a claim of title which, while evidenced by one or more writings, is without substantial legal foundation or validity.

Par. Latin. Equal; alike.

Par delictum. Equal fault. Pari delicto and in pari delicto. In equal wrong.
Par oneri. Equal to the burden, disadvantage, damage, or detriment.
Pari causa. In equal right; upon like or equivalent footing.
Pari materia. On a like subject.
Pari passu. By equal step; at equal rate: without preference or priority, as of one creditor over another, in marshaling assets.
Paramount. French par amount, by what is above, at the top. Above, higher, superior, pre-eminent. As a paramount equity, incumbrance, title - the origin and source of another title, as, the title of a landlord in comparison to that of his tenant. Compare Paravail.

Paravail. French par, by, avaler, to descend, be under; or par avails, by the avails - referring to the person who got the profits of the land. Downward; inferior, subordinate: as, a title paravail, a tenant paravail. Opposed, Paramount.

Parcel. 1. A small bundle or package. 2. A piece of land of indeterminate extent, but usually not large; a lot of ground Regina v. Bonner, 7 Cox, Cr. Cas. 13 (1855).

Parens. Latin. A parent; a father.

In loco parentis. In the place of the parent.
Parens patriæ. Father of the country. In England, the sovereign; in the United States, the state.
Parent. The lawful father, or the mother, of another person. Compare Parens.

Parish. Greek paroikía, neighborhood, district. 1. A circuit of ground committed to the charge of one parson or vicar, or other minister having the cure of souls therein. 1 Bl. Com. 111. Whence parochial. 2. In Louisiana, a division of the State known elsewhere as a "county".

Parish church. A select body of Christians, forming a local spiritual association; also, the building in which the public worship of the inhabitants of a parish is celebrated. A "parochial church" is a consecrated place, having attached to it the right of burial and the administration of the sacraments. Town of Pawlet v. Clark, 9 Cranch 826 (1815).
Park. In English law, an inclosed chase, extending over a man's own grounds; literally, an inclosure. 2 Bl. Com. 38; 40 N.J.L. 612.

Parochial. See Parish, 1.

Pars. Latin. A part; a party.

Ex parte or ex-parte. From a (one) party; on behalf of one side. Said of a proceeding had at the instance of one party, without opportunity of the opposing party to appear or participate; also, of a proceeding to which there is no adverse party.
Inter partes. Between parties; as, a paper executed, or a transaction had, by or between two acting persons.
Pars entita. The eldest part: the share of the oldest coparcener.
Pars rationabilis. Reasonable part.
Particeps. A part-taker: a participant. Particeps criminis. A fellow criminal; an accomplice. Plural participes.
Parsonage. Not a "place of worship", although on land appurtenant to a church. Church of Our Savior v. Montgomery County, 10 W.N.C. 170 (1881); Wood v. Moore, 1 Chest. Co. 265 (1881).

Partitio. Latin. An apportioning: partitioning, partition. From partiri, to divide, part.

De partitione facienda. Regarding a partition to be made; for dividing land. A writ of partition is sometimes called a writ de partitione, etc.
Quod partitio flat. That partition be made: the decree ordering a partition. See Partition.
Partition. Where two or more joint-tenants, coparceners, or tenants in common, agree to divide the lands so held among them, in severalty, each taking a distributive part. 2 Bl. Com. 323.

Partus. Latin. That which is brought forth, or borne: offspring, young.

Partus sequitur patrem. The offspring follows the father, -the condition of the father.
Partus sequitur ventrem. The offspring follows the mother.
Passenger. One who travels in some public conveyance by virtue of a contract, express or implied, with the carrier, as for the payment of fare or that which is accepted as an equivalent therefor. A mere trespasser, a person who steals a ride upon a railroad train, or who is employed thereon, is not a passenger. s.c. 113 U.S. 218 (1885); 3 Monta. 99 (1878); 24 Cent. Law J. 219 (1887); 139 Mass. 238, 542.

Passport. See Sea-letter.

Patent. French patent; Latin patere, to lie open. Open to inspection; not closed by sealing. A "patent" is is a grant by the crown or government. Grants by the king of lands, honors, liberties, franchises, etc., are contained in charters or letters patent, that is, open letters: not sealed up, but exposed to view and addressed to his subjects at large. Other letters of the king, directed to particular persons, and for special purposes, not being proper for public inspection, are closed up and sealed on the outside: writs close, and recorded in the close-rolls, as others are in the patent-rolls. 2 Bl. Com. 316.

Patent for land. The instrument by which the government, State or national, passes its title to land; the government conveyance.

Pater. Latin. Father. Compare Partus. Has been used in genealogical tables.

Pater est quem nuptiæ demonstrant. The nuptials show who is the father. The marriage of the mother declares the paternity of the child. At common law, the nuptials must proceed the birth of the child; in the civil law, they may proceed or follow. 1 Bl. Com. 446, 454-56.
Paterfamilias. The father (head) of a family; one not subject to paternal power, but sui juris.
Pater patriæ. Father of the country. See Parens.
Patria. Latin. Belonging to a father; paternal.

Patria potesas. Paternal authority: the power which, under Roman law, the head of a family (paterfamilias) had over that family.

Nemo potest exuere patriam. No one may leave the kingdom. No subject can expatriate himself, -the English doctrine. 3 Dallas 145; 9 Op. Att.-Gen. 356.

Patrimony. Property received from one's father, or ancestors. Whence patrimonial. See Descent.

Pay. French paier, payer, to content: Latin pacere, to pacify, appease. verb. To discharge an obligation by a performance according to its terms or requirements, whether the obligation be for money, merchandise, or services. 1 Cush. 76 (1848), Forbes, J. noun. Money, other property, or services, accepted in discharge of an obligation: as, an amount given to a person in the military service, in consideration of personal service. 16 Ct. Cl. 496 (1880).


A Dictionary of Law (1893): Letter Q


Q.c.f. Quare clausum fregit, why he broke the close. See Close.

Quære. Latin. To question, inquire: query, inquiry. Donotes that a point of law is not fully considered, and is deemed doubtful.

Quæstio. Latin. An inquiry; question.

Ad quæstionem facti non respondent judices. To a question of fact, the judges do not respond.
Ad quæstionem legis non respondent juratores. To a question of law, the jurors do not respond.
Cadit quæstio. The question falls: discussion is at an end; there is no room for argument.
Vexata quæstio. A mooted matter; a disputed point.
Qua. Latin. On which side; as far as; in so far as; considered as; as.

Quash. French quasser, to break. Latin quassare, to shatter. To make void or abate. 3 Bl. Com. 303; to overthrow, annul. United States v. Rosenburgh, 7 Wall. 583 (1868). A plea in abatement prays that the writ or declaration be quashed; cassetur breve. The ground for exercising the summary power of quashing writs is to clear the record of irregular, void, or defective proceedings. Not being a matter or right, but of privilege, the motion will not be received when presented at an unreasonable time, as, after issue joined on a plea of not guilty. Richards v. Commwealth, 81 Va. 114-15 (1885).

Quasi. Latin. As if; like, corresponding to. Marks resemblance, yet supposes difference, between objects. See People v. Bradley, 60 Ill. 402 (1871).

Quay. Is a space of ground appropriated to public use: such use as the convenience of commerce requires. New Orleans v. United States, 10 Pet. 715 (1836), McLean, J.

Qui; Quid; Quod. Latin. Who, he who; which, that which; what; that.

Quia. Latin. Because.

Quickening. Takes place about the sixteenth week of conception, yet may vary from the tenth to twenty-fifth week. A woman is "quick with child" from the period of conception and the commencement of gestation; and she is "pregnant with a quick child" when the child has become quickened in the womb. Evans v. People, 49 N.Y. 89 (1872); State v. Emerich, 13 Mo. Ap. 492 (1883).

Quiet. verb. To settle the ownership or validity of, by ending disputes or litigation: as, "to quiet a title" to real estate.

Quitclaim. verb- To give up one's claim of title. noun- A deed in the nature of a release, containing words of release and of grant. See Nathans v. Arkwright, 66 Ga. 186 (1880). Conveys such interest as the grantor may have, without covenants of title; but covenants against incumbrances imposed by him are usually added. The operative words are "remise, release, and forever quitclaim". The term presupposes a previous or precedent conveyance or a subsisting estate and possession. See Ely v. Stannard, 41 Conn. 533 (1877).

Quo. In what, with what, by what.

Quoad. Latin. As to; as regards; concerning.


A Dictionary of Law (1893): Letter R


R.L. Revised Laws; Roman Law.

R.S. Revised Statutes.

Rape. Mid. English rape, haste, hurry: seizure by force. A popular etymology connects it with Latin rapere, to seize hastily, -Skeat. The carnal knowledge of a woman forcibly and against her will. 4 Bl. Com. 210; Commonwealth v. Fogerty, 8 Gray 490 (1857); 143 Mass. 37; 11 Ark. 409; 9 Fla. 182; 52 Ind. 187; 25 Mich. 359; 14 Neb. 207; 11 Nev. 257; 20 Tex. App. 155; 22 Wis. 415. If the act was committed without consent, - as where the woman is stupified by drugs or liquors, or is deceived as to the nature of the act, or is overcome by duress or threats of murder, - the case may be rape, although there was no actual, continued resistance. A girl under ten is not competent to consent, 143 Mass. 37-40 (1887), nor is an older female of insane mind. Marriage gives permanent, irrevocable consent. 50 Conn. 579; 77 Mo. 157; 50 Wis. 518; Abbott, Bouvier, Law Dicts.

Ratification. L. Latin ratificare, to confirm: ratus, settled; facere, to make. Acceptance or adoption of an act performed by another as agent or representative; in particular, confirmation of what has been done without original authority. See Negley v. Lindsay, 67 Pa. 228 (1870), cases. An adoption of a contract made on our behalf by someone whom we did not authorize, which relates back to the execution of the contract and renders it obligatory from the outset. Hare, Contracts 272 (1887).

Ratihabitio. Latin. Approval; ratification. From ratum-habere, to have or to hold firm or established.

Ratihabitio mandato æquiparatur. A ratification is equal to a command. Abridged from omnis ratihabitio retrotrahitur et mandato (priori) æquiparatur, every ratification relates back and is equivalent to a (prior) command. An act of ratification has a retroactive effect, and amounts to previously given authority.
Ratio. Latin. Reason, cause; nature, character.

Cessante ratione, cessat ipsa lex. The reason ceasing, the law itself ceases. When the reason, which is the soul of the law, ceases to exist, the law itself should lose its operative effect.
Ratio decidende. Reason for deciding; the logic of a ruling. 114 U.S. 288.
Ratione materiæ. From the nature of the subject or subject-matter. 17 F.R. 612, 613; 34 La. An. 784.
Ratione personæ. From the character of the person. 4 Hughes 343.
Ratione privilegii. By reason of privilege; by virtue of a franchise or prerogative. 106 E.C.L. 870.
Ratione soli. By reason of the soil; by virtue of ownership in the land. 106 E.C.L. 870.
Ratione tenuræ. By reason of possession or tenure.
Ubi eadem ratio, ibi eadem jus. Where the reason is the same, the law is the same. "Like reason maketh like law".
Eadem ratio, eadem rex. The same reason, the same law.
Contrariorum contraria ratio. The reason for things which differ is different.
Dissimilium dissimilis ratio. For unlike things, the rule is unlike. 34 La. An. 94, 117.


A Dictionary of Law (1893): Letter S


Sabbath. Sabbath and Sunday are used indiscriminately to denote the Christian Sabbath. State v. Drake, 64 N.C. 591 (1870).

Seal. French seel, a signet: Latin sigillum, a mark, seal. 1. An instrument for impressing wax made to adhere to a writing, in attestation of the genuineness of the writing or of the deliberation with which it is executed. The impression produced with such instrument. Among the Saxons, seals were little used; their method was for such as could write to subscribe their names, and, whether they could write or not, to affix the sign of the cross.

Seal, place of. The place on a document where a seal is attached or is to be attached. In Latin, locus sigilli; whence "L.S." - usually printed or written with an encircling scroll. By long usage and general understanding, "L.S." is regarded as representing a seal, in copies of legal precepts. See La. Civ. Code, arts. 1027-28, 1068-71, 1079, 1084. See L.S.

Secundum. Latin. Following; according to.

Secundum allegata et probata. According to allegations and proofs.
Secundum artem. According to the trade or calling.
Secundum legem. Conformably to law.
Secundum regulam. According to rule.
Secus. Latin. Otherwise; to the contrary effect.

Sed. Latin. But.

Sed quære. But examine.
Sed vide. But see.

Expressions which direct attention to a case or authority supporting a doctrine contrary to that laid down. See Quære.
Sedition. Latin seditio, a going apart, dissention. Conduct tending toward treason, but wanting an overt act; attempts made, by meetings or speeches, or by publications, to disturb the tranquillity of the state, which do not amount to treason. Abbott's Law Dictionary. Called seditious conspiracies and libels.

Seisin. French scisin, to make to possess or to sit upon. The possession of land under a claim, either express or implied by law, of an estate amounting at least to a freehold. Towle v. Ayer, 8 N.H. 59 (1835). See Seisina below. Originally, seisin was the completion of the feudal investiture; it now means ownership. A "covenant of seisin" and a "covenant of right to convey" are synonymous. Cook v. Hammond, 4 Mass. 488 (1827).

Disseisee. A freeholder of land ejected by another from his possession of an estate or freehold.
Disseisin. Ouster or deprivation of a freehold. A wrongful putting of him out of that is seised of a freehold, - is in actual possession. 3 Bl. Com. 169. Where one man invades the possession of another, and by force or surprise turns him out of the occupation of lands: being a deprivation of that actual seisin, or corporal freehold of the lands, which the tenant before enjoyed. 2 Bl. Com 195; 5 Conn. 257, 518; 58 Ill. 589; 56 Me. 268; 2 Wend. 166.
Disseisor. A person who intrudes and ejects another from his possession of an estate or freehold.
Livery of seisin. Pure feudal investiture or delivery of corporal possession of land or of a tenement. 2 Bl. Com 311.
Seisin in deed. A possession in fact by one having or claiming a freehold interest.
Seisin in law. The right of immediate possession.
Constructive seisin. The equivalent of a seisin in deed. Jenkins v. Fahey, 73 N.Y. 362 (1878); Hart v. Dean, 2 MacAr. 63 (1875).
Seisina. Latin. Actual possession of an estate of freehold; seisin, q.v.

Habere facias seisinam. That you cause to obtain seisin. The emphatic words of a writ of execution by which the sheriff delivered possession of a freehold to the demandant. 3 Bl. Com. 412; id. 359.
Seisina facit stipitem. Seisin makes the stock. Actual seisin formerly made a person the root or stock from which inheritance by blood was derived. 2 Bl. Com. 209.
Seminary. Has no definite legal meaning; is used in a general way to designate institutions for the promotion of learning. Chegaray v. Mayor of New York, 13 N.Y. 229 (1855).

Semper. Latin. Always; ever.

Semper paratus. Always ready. In common-law practice, a plea that the defendant always has been and still is ready to do what is demanded of him.

Sensus. Latin. Sense; signification.

Malus sensus. The bad sense.
In malo sensu. In the less favorable acceptation.
In militor sensu. In the more favorable acceptation.
Sheriff. Saxon shire, a part sheared off: a division, county; and reeve, a bailiff, officer. 1 Bl. Com. 116, 117, 339; 54 Pa. 275. An officer who represents the administrative power of a State within one of its counties: an officer who executes the mandates of the courts of record within a county; the chief ministerial officer in a county.

Deputy sheriff. A person selected by a sheriff to assist him in discharging the duties of his office.


A Dictionary of Law (1893): Letter T


Take. With its inflections, has a popular, a quasi, or a wholly technical sense. 1. In the sense of being entitled to, procuring, acquiring, obtaining, receiving, accepting, reserving, is of frequent use. 2. To take up a bill or note is to pay the amount thereof, and receive the paper back; to retire the bill or note by paying it or substituting other paper for it. 3. To avail one's self of the provisions of a law; to take such action in court as will secure one's self the benefits of a particular law; as, to take the bankrupt or insolvent law. 4. To apply for and secure; to procure; as to "take out" a license, letters of administration or letters of testamentary, a policy of insurance, a writ of any kind. 5. The technical word in a precept ordering an arrest. 6. The technical word charging felonious appropriation in embezzlement; in larceny the words are "take and carry away". 7. A mere attempt to seduce is not a taking within a statute against abduction: there must be some positive act to get the person away. People v. Parshall, 6 Park Cr. 132 (1864). 8. To appropriate to a public use, against the will of the owner: as, to take private property.

Tax. French taxer: Latin taxare, to handle, appraise. 1, v. To assess, adjust, fix, determine: as, to tax the items and the amount of the costs in a case. Whence re-tax. 2, n. A charge, a pecuniary burden, for the support of government. United States v. Baltimore & Ohio R. Co., 17 Wall. 326 (1872), Hunt, J. A tax is not a "debt," that is, an obligation for the payment of money founded upon contract. It is an impost levied for the support of government, or for some special purpose authorized by it. The consent of the taxpayer is not necessary to its enforcement: it operated in invitum. The form of procedure to collect, as an action of debt, does not change its character. Meriwether v. Garrett, 102 U.S. 513-15 (1880), Field, J. The power is the strongest, most pervading one of government. "The power to tax is the power to destroy." McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 431 (1819), Marshall, C.J. A tax is not a lien unless made so by statute. Mandamus will compel a levy. But a court of equity has no jurisdiction to appoint a collector or receivor, by mandamus. Thompson v. Allen County, 115 U.S. 550 (1885). An assessment of a tax is invalid, if, being laid upon different kinds of property not legally assessable, the part assessed upon the latter property not being separated from the other part. Santa Clara Co. v. Southern Pacific R. Co., 118 U.S. 410, 416 (1886), cases.

Capitation tax. A poll tax; a tax imposed upon each individual person without regard to his property, business, or other circumstances. See Head-Money Cases, 18 F.R. 139 (1883); 3 Dall. 171; 5 Wheat. 317.
Direct tax; indirect tax. Attempts to define "direct tax," as used in the Constitution, have been unsatisfactory. Taxes are usually "direct" and "indirect." Under the former are included taxes on real property; under the latter, taxes on consumption. 1 Story, Const. § 950; 1 Kent, 254-58.
Poll tax. See Capitation tax above.
The power, in a State, is necessarily limited to subjects within its jurisdiction. These are persons, property, and business, - whatever the form of taxation, whether as duties, imports, excises or licenses. The power may touch property in every shape: in its natural condition, in its manufactured form, in its transmutations. It may touch business in any of its infinite forms - in professions, commerce, manufactures, transportation. The amount is determined by the value, use, capacity, or productiveness. Unrestrained constitutionally, the power of the State as to the mode, form, and extent is unlimited, provided the subject is within her jurisdiction. Coe v. Errol, 116 U.S. 524 (1836), cases. [bold emphasis added].

Tempus. Latin. Time; limited time.

Nullum tempus occurrit regi. No time runs against the king.
Nullum tempus occurrit reipublicæ. No time runs against the commonwealth. Lapse of time, at common law, will not prevent the sovereign from asserting a right; laches cannot be alleged against the state.
Prior tempore, prior jure. Earlier in time, stronger in right. First time in, first in right. Priority gives precedence.
Tenant. French tenant, holding: Latin tenere, to hold. In its largest sense, any one who holds lands, whatever the nature or extent of his interest. Coles v. Marquand, 2 Hill. 449 (1842). One who holds lands by any kind of title, whether for years, for life, or in fee. Hosford v. Ballard, 39 N.Y. 151 (1808). Almost all realty is supposed to be holden of some superior lord, in consideration of services to be rendered by the possessor. The thing to be held is styled the tenement, the possessor thereof the tenant, and the manner of possession a tenure, or tenacy. 2 Bl. Com. 59.

Tenants in common. Such as held by several and distinct titles, but by unity of possession; because none knows his own severalty, and therefore all occupy promiscuously. 2 Bl. Com. 191. See also 5 Conn. 365; 12 Allen 36; 8 Minn. 431; 4 Hun. 200; 2 Utah 297.
Tenants in coparcenary. These always take and hold by descent as one heir. They have distinct estates, with right to possession in common. 2 Bl. Com. 187-91.
Tenants at will. One who holds lands as tenant at the will of the lessor. A tenancy at will is one which may be determined at the will or pleasure of either party. Davis v. Murphy, 126 Mass. 145 (1879), Morton, J.
Tender. 1, v. When either side traverses or denies the facts pleaded by his antagonist he is said to "tender an issue". 2 Bl. Com. 318. 2, n. A formal offer; a proffer which binds him who refuses it.

Legal tender. (1) An offer to do a thing, conformably to the requirements of the law in the case. (2) Money that may be offered in payment of a debt.
Legal Tender Acts. By acts of February 28, 1862, July 11, 1862, and March 3, 1863, Congress authorized the issue of notes of the United States, declaring them a legal tender for all debts, except duties on imports and interest on the public debt. Hepburn v. Griswold, 8 Wall. 603. Decided November 27, 1869; read January 29, 1870: 12 Wall. 528-29. The Legal Tender Acts - chosen as a means to a proper end: to suppress rebellion and preserve the government - were constitutional, as appropriate and within the power of Congress "to declare war".
Territory. 1. The area of land or country within the jurisdiction of a State, municipality, or court. 2. "The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States." Constitution, Art. IV, sec. 3, cl. 2.

Title. French tille: Latin titulus, superscription; bill, placard, notice. The means whereby the owner of land has the just possession of his property. 2 Bl. Com. 195. He who has possession, the right of possession, and the right of property has a perfect title. Shelton v. Alcox, 11 Conn. 249 (1836), Williams, C.J.; 2 Bl. Com. 195; 1 Kent, 177-78; 4 Kent, 373-74. A person may have a title to property although he is not the absolute owner. If he has the actual or constructive possession, or the right of possession, he has a title. Roberts v. Wentworth, 5 Cush. 193 (1849).

Titula est justa causa possidendi id quod nostrum est. A title is the just right of possessing that which is our own. 1 Coke, Inst. 345 b; 2 Bl. Com. 195; 34 Cal. 385; 4 Conn. 55; 11 N.J.L. 62; 81 Va. 383. The lawful cause or ground of possessing that which is ours. Merrill v. Agricultural Ins. Co., 73 N.Y. 456 (1878); 6 Hill. 537; 83 Ill. 458; 3 Tex. 468; 81 Va. 383; 3 Washb. R.P. 399.

Absolute title. This cannot exist at the same time in different persons or in different governments. To be "absolute" it must be exclusive, or, at least, exclude all others not compatible with it. Johnson v. M'Intosh, 6 Wheat. 588 (1823), Marshall, Chief Justice.
Adverse title. See Possession, Adverse; Warranty, 1.
Good title; Perfect title; Unincumbered title. A "perfect title" is a title good in law and in equity. Warner v. Middlesex Mut. Assur. Co., 21 Conn. 448 (1852).
Equitable title. A title available or enforceable in a court of equity.
Legal title. A right in the nature of ownership cognizable by, and enforceable in, a court of law. Thus, the legal title to land conveyed remains in the vendor until all the purchase money has been paid; while the vendee acquires an equitable title only. Jennisons v. Leonard, 21 Wall. 309 (1874).
Paper title. "Color of title" is not synonymous with "claim of title;" for to the former a paper title is requisite, while the latter may exist wholly in parol. Hamilton v. Wright, 30 Iowa 486 (1870).
Title-deed. Deeds evidencing one's right to land are his "title-deeds," otherwise called his muniments of title.
Tort. Latin tortus, twisted, bent, wrong. 1. French. Improper, unlawful conduct; wrong. De son tort - of his own wrong; by action not authorized by law. Nui tort - No wrong done: the general issue in a real action. 3 Bl. Com. 305. 2. English. An injury done, to one's person or property, by another. A private wrong, or civil injury. 3 Bl. Com. 117, 2. An unlawful act done in violation of the legal rights of some one. Langford v. United States, 101 U.S. 345 (1879), Miller, J. An invasion of the legal rights of another accompanied by damages. Chesley v. King, 74 Me. 173 (1882), Barows, J.


A Dictionary of Law (1893): Letter V


Venue. Locality, neighborhood; place of trial; county [not County]. French venuë, a coming, place of arrival.

Verba. Words, language, discourse.

Verba debent intelligi cum effectu. Words are to be understood effectively.

Verbum. Latin. What is spoken; a word.

Verum. The truth. See Aver.

Verus. Latin. True; real, actual; genuine.

Vex. To harass, trouble, annoy.

Vexari. Latin. To shake: to molest, annoy, trouble, prosecute, vex.

Nemo debet bis vexari pro uno et eadam causa. No person should twice be prosecuted for one and the same cause. No person shall be twice put in jeopardy.
Vicinity; Vicinage. French voisinage: Latin vicinus, near. Neighborhood; county [not County].

Vide. See. Quod vide: which see.

Videre. Latin. To see; to perceive, understand, know.

Vie. French. Life. Cestui que vie. He who lives.

Vigilans. Latin. Awake: watchful, circumspect; attentive to one's own interests; vigilant; active.

Vigilantibus, non dormientibus, leges subveniunt. Those awake, not those asleep, the laws assist. Relief is not given to such as sleep on their rights. Legal remedies are for the active and vigilant.

Vigor. Latin. Strength, efficacy, force.

Ex proprio vigore. By its own inherent force.
Ex vigore termini. By the strength of the word.
Vis. Latin. Force.

Vi et armis. With force and arms.

Vis divina. An act of God.

Vis major. Superior force; irresistible force.

Viva voce. Latin. With living voice; by word of mouth; by spoken word; verbally; orally: as, testimony given viva voce in court; to vote viva voce.

Viz. See Videre.

Voir. French. The truth.

Voir dire. To speak the truth.

Voluntary. In accordance with one's own free will; without constraint or compulsion; spontaneous; free; chosen, intended; allowed, suffered.

Voluntas. Latin. Will; intention; volition.

Stat pro ratione voluntas. The will stands for the reason.
Voluntas reputatur pro facto. The will is to be taken for the deed.
Voluntas testatoris ambulatoria est usque ad mortem. The will of the testator is ambulatory up to death. 2 Bl. Com. 502.

A Dictionary of Law (1893): Letter W


Wafer. See Seal.

Waiver. A voluntary relinquishment of some right. Stewart v. Crosby, 60 Me. 134 (1863).

Washington City. See District, of Columbia.

War. An interruption of a state of peace for the purpose of attempting to procure good or prevent evil by force. An armed contest between different states upon a question of public right. Code Int. Law, 270.

Warrant. French warant, garant, protection, heed, care. To give assurance of the existence of a fact; as, of the quality of goods sold, the validity of a title, the description and uses of insured property. Whence warrantor.

Quo warranto. By what warrant or authority.
Warrantia chartæ. A warranty of deed or of title.
Lineal warranty. Where the heir derived his title to the land warranted.
Wax. See Seal.

Week. A period of time commencing on Sunday morning and ending at midnight Saturday.

Widow. A woman who has lost her husband by death.

Wife. A woman who has a husband living.

Will. A declaration of the mind, either by word or writing, in disposing of an estate; to take place after the death of the testator. A will is to be considered as the "testament", and the instrument. The testament is the result and effect in law of what is the will, that consists of all the parts, including a codicil. The intent of the testator is the cardinal rule by which to construe a will. See further, Testament.

Words. Words for the most part do not represent distinct thoughts; Words written prevail over words printed; the former are of the immediate language of the parties.

Worship. No definition of this word, as used in "divine worship", "religious worship", "place of worship", and similar expressions, applicable to all cases, has, seemingly, been framed by any court. The word has no technical, legal signification; each case, in which its meaning has been the subject of contention, has been decided upon its own merits.

Writ. That which is written: a writing; a mandate or precept.

Writing. Words traced with a pen, or stamped, printed, engraved, or made legible by any other device. La. Penal Code (1830). The expression of ideas by visible letters – on paper, wood, stone, or other material.
Ancient writings. Deeds, wills, and other instruments more than thirty years old.
Wrong. A.S. wrang, wrung, wrested, perverted. Compate Tort. A violation of right or of a right; a privation of right; an injury; a tort; or a crime.


A Dictionary of Law (1893): Letter Y


Year. In legislative and judicial proceedings, in absence of another system of recording, the Christian calendar is intended.

Year of our Lord. Statutes in some States provide that "year" shall be taken to mean "the year of our Lord".

Yes; Yez. See Oyez.

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