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Licit; legally warranted or authorized.
The terms lawful and legal differ in that the former contemplates the substance of law, whereas the latter alludes to the form of law. A lawful act is authorized, sanctioned, or not forbidden by law. A legal act is performed in accordance with the forms and usages of law, or in a technical manner. In this sense, illegal approaches the meaning of invalid. For example, a contract or will, executed without the required formalities, might be regarded as invalid or illegal, but could not be described as unlawful.
The term lawful more clearly suggests an ethical content than does the word legal. The latter merely denotes compliance with technical or formal rules, whereas the former usually signifies a moral substance or ethical permissibility. An additional distinction is that the word legal is used as the synonym of constructive, while lawful is not. Legal fraud is Fraud implied by law, or made out by construction, but lawful fraud would be a contradiction in terms. Legal is also used as the antithesis of equitable, just. As a result, legal estate is the correct usage, instead of lawful estate. Under certain circumstances, however, the two words are used as exact equivalents. A lawful writ, warrant, or process is the same as a legal writ, warrant, or process.
lawfuladjective according to fiat, according to law, allowable, allowed, authorized by law, conformable to law, conformable with the law, constitutional, established, in accordance with the law, in conformity to the law, inviolable, law-abiding, legal, legalized, legitimate, legitimus, licit, nomothetic, obedient, permissible, permitted, prescribed by law, proper, sanctioned, sanctioned by law, statutable, unprohibited, valid, warranted by law, within the law
Associated concepts: lawful act, lawful age, lawful beneficiiry, lawful business, lawful command, lawful custody, lawwul damages, lawful entry, lawful heirs, lawful interest, lawwul issue, lawful order, lawful possession, lawful process, lawful purpose, lawful representative, lawful use
See also: allowable, allowed, choate lien, civic, clean, de jure, due, forensic, juridical, just, justifiable, legal, legitimate, licit, permissible, regular, rightful, statutory, unalienable, valid
lawfulallowed, recognized, or sanctioned by law; legal.
LAWFUL. That which is not forbidden by law. Id omne licitum est, quod non est legibus prohibitum, quamobrem, quod, lege permittente, fit, poenam non meretur. To be valid a contract must be lawful.