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Something done; usually, something done intentionally or voluntarily or with a purpose.

The term encompasses not only physical acts—such as turning on the water or purchasing a gun—but also refers to more intangible acts such as adopting a decree, edict, law, judgment, award, or determination. An act may be a private act, done by an individual managing his or her personal affairs, or it may be a public act, done by an official, a council, or a court. When a bill is favorably acted upon in the process of legislation, it becomes an act.


1) n. in general, any action by a person. 2) n. a statutory plan passed by Congress or any legislature which is a "bill" until enacted and becomes law. 3) v. for a court to make a decision and rule on a motion or petition, as in "the court will act on your motion for a new trial."


(Enactment), noun acte, administration, bill, code, deed, dictate, edict, law, legislation, legislative decree, lex, mandate, ordinance, precept, prescript, règlement, resolution, rule, ruling, statute, written law
Associated concepts: Congressional act, legislative act
Foreign phrases: Actus legis nemini est damnosus.The act of the law shall prejudice no one.


(Undertaking), noun accomplishment, action, commission, course, dealing, deed, doing, effectuation, enterprise, execution, feat, implementation, manipulation, measure, method, move, operation, performance, perpetration, step, stratagem, task, transaction
Associated concepts: act in official capacity, act of bankkuptcy, act of commission, act of cruelty, act of embezzleeent, act of flight, act of God, act of infringement, act of innolvency, act of larceny, act of law, act of misfeasance, act of necessity, act of omission, act of ownership, act of provvdence, act of reckless disregard, act of violence, act of war, actus reas, judicial act, mala prohibita act, overt act
Foreign phrases: Actus me invito factus non est meus actus.An act done by me, against my will, is not my act. Actus not facit reum, nisi mens sit rea. An act does not render a person guilty, unless the mind is guilty. Idem est facere, et non prohibere cum possis. It is the same thing to commit an act as not to prohibit it, when it is in your power. Facta sunt potentiora verbis. Acts or deeds are more powerful than words.
See also: accomplish, amendment, canon, codification, commit, comport, constitution, course, demean, deport, dictate, directive, enactment, execute, exercise, fake, false pretense, function, imitate, law, legislation, measure, mock, officiate, operate, operation, palter, perpetrate, portray, prescription, pretend, procedure, proceed, regulation, represent, role, rubric, rule, scene, simulate, statute, step, substitute, transaction


1 the formally codified result ofdeliberation by a legislative body; a law, edict, decree, statute, etc. See ACT OF PARLIAMENT.
2 a formal written record of transactions, proceedings, etc., as of a society, committee or legislative body.
3 in Scottish practice an indication of the lawyer who represents the pursuer.

ACT, civil law, contracts. A writing which states in a legal form that a thing has been said, done, or agreed. In Latin, Instrumentum. Merl. Rep.

ACT. In the legal sense, this word may be used to signify the result of a public deliberation, the decision of a prince, of a legislative body, of a council, court of justice, or a magistrate. Also, a decree, edict, law, judgment, resolve, award, determination. Also, an instrument in writing to verify facts, as act of assembly, act of congress, act of parliament, act and deed. See Webster's Dict. Acts are civil or criminal, lawful or unlawful, public or private.
    2. Public acts, usually denominated authentic, are those which have a public authority, and which have been made before public officers, are authorized by a public seal, have been made public by the authority of a magistrate, or which have been extracted and been properly authenticated from public records.
    3. Acts under private signature are those which have been made by private individuals, under their hands. An act of this kind does not acquire the force of an authentic act, by being registered in the office of a notary. 5 N. S. 693; 8 N. S. 568 ; 3 L. R. 419 ; 8 N. S. 396 ; 11 M. R. 243; unless it has been properly acknowledged before the officer, by the parties to it. 5 N. S. 196.
     4. Private acts are those made by private persons, as registers in relation to their receipts and expenditures, schedules, acquittances, and the like. Nov. 73, c. 2 ; Code, lib. 7, tit. 32, 1. 6; lib. 4, t. 21; Dig. lib. 22, tit.. 4; Civ. Code of Louis. art. 2231 to 2254; Toull. Dr. Civ. Francais, tom. 8, p. 94.

ACT, evidence. The act of one of several conspirators, performed in pursuance of the common design, is evidence against all of them. An overt act of treason must be proved by two witnesses. See Overt.
     2. The terra. acts, includes written correspondence, and other papers relative to the design of the parties, but whether it includes unpublished writings upon abstract questions, though of a kindred nature, has been doubted, Foster's Rep. 198 ; 2 Stark. R. 116, 141.
     3. In cases of partnership it is a rule that the act or declaration of either partner, in furtherance of the common object of the association, is the act of all. 1 Pet. R. 371 5 B. & Ald. 267.
     4. And the acts. of an agent, in pursuance of his authority, will be binding on his principal. Greenl. Ev. Sec. 113.

ACT, legislation. A statute or law made by a legislative body; as an act of congress is a law by the congress of the United States; an act of assembly is a law made by a legislative assembly. If an act of assembly expire or be repealed while a proceeding under it is in fieri or pending, the proceeding becomes abortive; as a prosecution for an offence, 7 Wheat. 552; or a proceeding under insolvent laws. 1 Bl. R. 451; Burr. 1456 ; 6 Cranch, 208 ; 9 Serg. & Rawle, 283.
     2. Acts are general or special; public or private. A general or public act is a universal rule which binds the whole community; of which the courts are bound to take notice ex officio.
     3. Explanatory acts should not be enlarged by equity Blood's case, Comb. 410; although such acts may be allowed to have a retrospective operation. Dupin, Notions de Droit, 145. 9.
     4. Private or special acts are rather exceptions, than rules; being those which operate only upon particular persons and private concerns; of these the courts are not bound to take notice, unless they are pleaded. Com. 85, 6; 1 Bouv. Inst. n. 105.