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Contrary to or unauthorized by law; illegal.

When applied to promises, agreements, or contracts, the term denotes that such agreements have no legal effect. The law disapproves of such conduct because it is immoral or contrary to public policy. Unlawful does not necessarily imply criminality, although the term is sufficiently broad to include it.


adj. referring to any action which is in violation of a statute, federal or state constitution, or established legal precedents (against the law).


adjective actionable, against the law, criminal, forbidden, illegal, illegitimate, illicit, lawless, non legitimus, not allowed by law, outlawed, prohibited, transgressive, unallowed, unauthorized, unlicensed, unsanctioned, unwarranted, vetitus, wrongful, wrongous
Associated concepts: unlawful accumulation, unlawful act, unlawful assembly, unlawful combination, unlawful connract, unlawful detainer, unlawful detention, unlawful ennichment, unlawful entrapment, unlawful entry, unlawful flight, unlawful force, unlawful picketing
Foreign phrases: Ex pacto illicito non oritur actio.From an unlawful agreement, no action will lie.
See also: broken, delinquent, felonious, illegal, illegitimate, illicit, immoral, impermissible, unauthorized, unscrupulous, unwarranted, wrongful

UNLAWFUL. That which is contrary to law.
     2. There are two kinds of contracts which are unlawful; those which are void, and those which are not. When the law expressly prohibits the transaction in respect of which the agreement is entered into and declares it to be void, it is absolutely so. 3 Binn. R. 533. But when it is merely prohibited, without being made void, although unlawful, it is not void. 12 Serg. & Rawle, 237; Chitty, Contr. 230; 23 Amer. Jur. 1 to 23; 1 Mod. 35; 8 East, R. 236, 237; 3 Taunt. R. 244; Hob. 14. Vide Condition; Void.

References in periodicals archive ?
Sarah Marsland 86 07/08/78 At home Unlawful killing
The unlawful occupation was encouraged by Ndifuna Ukwazi and began almost a year ago.
According to research, the unlawful elimination of suspects by the law-enforcement authorities is a counterproductive practice which results in brutalising society.
I want to sound this as a warning to those evil-minded fellows who take delight in procuring our promising children for prostitution or any other unlawful activities that NAPTIP is gradually closing in on them, she said.
The sources said that in order to raise awareness among the masses and particularly to discourage the unlawful hunting of the most precious and valuable wild life, seminars will be held, under phased program in various parts of AJK under the auspices of the country office of the World Wild Life Federation, the National Council For Conservation of Wild Life and Fisheries Department of the state.
At Sese, a police patrol team arrested a 29-year-old man of Magoleng ward for unlawful possession of a substance suspected to be dagga.
Thus, it is the nature of defendant's entry into the land which determines the cause of action, whether it is forcible entry or unlawful detainer.
The Dubai Court of First Instance convicted the American defendant of dealing in usury and giving unlawful interests against mortgaging gold.
In a statement, released here on Saturday, Riaz demanded of the Express Tribune management to withdraw its unlawful decision and reinstate all the forcibly laid-off journalists forthwith.
RA 8436 exempts candidates from unlawful acts or omissions that may be committed during elections prior to the start of the campaign period.
In the result of their unlawful actions, a Kyrgyz passport was issued to Georgian citizen Roman Barbakadze, having the status of crime boss, in the name of R.
The Government of India, under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, has proscribed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as an 'Unlawful Association'.