usage


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Financial, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

Usage

A reasonable and legal practice in a particular location, or among persons in a specific business or trade, that is either known to the individuals involved or is well established, general, and uniform to such an extent that a presumption may properly be made that the parties acted with reference to it in their transactions.

The term usage refers to a uniform practice or course of conduct followed in certain lines of business or professions that is relied upon by the parties to a contractual transaction. A court will apply the usage of a business when it determines that doing so is necessary to resolve a contractual dispute. Ignoring usage may result in the misreading of a document and the intent of the parties who signed it.

The law has developed different forms of usage. Local usage refers to a practice or method of dealing regularly observed in a particular place. Under certain circumstances it may be considered by a court when interpreting a document. General usage is a practice that prevails generally throughout the country, or is followed generally by a given profession or trade, and is not local in its nature or observance.

A trade usage is the prevailing and accepted custom within a particular trade or industry and is not tied to a geographic location. The law assumes that merchants are aware of the usage of their trade. Trade Usage supplements, qualifies, and imparts particular meaning to the terms of an agreement for the purpose of their interpretation.

The term custom and usage is commonly used in Commercial Law, but "custom" and "usage" can be distinguished. A usage is a repetition of acts whereas custom is the law or general rule that arises from such repetition. A usage may exist without a custom, but a custom cannot arise without a usage accompanying it or preceding it. Usage derives its authority from the assent of the parties to a transaction and is applicable only to consensual arrangements. Custom derives its authority from its adoption into the law and is binding regardless of any acts of assent by the parties. In modern law, however, the two principles are often merged into one by the courts.

usage

noun application, conduct, consuetude, convention, custom, customary use, disposition, established custom, established practice, fashion, fixed procedure, form, formula, habit, habitual use, habitude, management, manner, method, mode, mos, operation, prescription, prevalence, routine, service, style, system, tradition, treatment, use, utilization, vogue, wear, wont
Associated concepts: common usage, custom and usage, general usage
Foreign phrases: Consuetudo ex certa causa rationabili usiiata privat communem legem.A custom, based on a certain and reasonable cause, supersedes the common law. Optimus interpres rerum usus. Usage is the best interpreter of things. In contractibus, tacite insunt quae sunt moris et consueeudinis. In contracts, matters of custom and usage are tacitly implied. Non ex opinionibus singulorum, sed ex communi usu, nomina exaudiri debent. The names of things ought to be understood, not according to individual opinions, but according to common usage. Obtemperandum est consuetuuini rationabili tanquam legi. A reasonable custom is to be obeyed like law. Quae praeter consuetudinem et morem majorum fiunt neque placent neque recta videntur. Things which are done contrary to the custom and manner of our annestors neither please nor appear right.
See also: behavior, consumption, custom, function, management, manner, means, mode, opportunity, phraseology, practice, prescription, procedure, use

custom

or

usage

a residual source of law.

USAGE. Long and uniform practice. In its most extensive meaning this term includes custom and prescription, though it differs from them in a narrower sense, it is applied to the habits, modes, and course of dealing which are observed in trade generally, as to all mercantile transactions, or to some particular branches of trade.
     2. Usage of trade does not require to be immemorial to establish it; if it be known, certain, uniform, reasonable, and not contrary to law, it is sufficient. But evidence of a few instances that such a thing has been done does not establish a usage. 3 Watts, 178; 3 Wash. C. C. R. 150; 1 Gallis. 443; 5 Binn. 287; 9 Pick. 426; 4 B. & Ald. 210; 7 Pet. 1; 2 Wash. C. C. R. 7.
     3. The usages of trade afford ground upon which a proper construction may be given to contracts. By their aid the indeterminate intention of parties and the nature and extent of their contracts arising from mere implications or presumptions, and act of an equivocal character may be ascertained; and the meaning of words and doubtful expressions may become known. 2 Mete. 65; 2 Sumn. 569; 2 G. & J. 136; 13 Pick. 182; Story on Ag. Sec. 77; 2 Kent, Com. 662, 3d ed.; 5 Wheat. 326; 2 Car. & P. 525; 3 B. & Ald. 728; Park. on Ins. 30; 1 Marsh. Ins. 186, n. 20; 1 Caines, 45 Gilp. 356, 486; 1 Edw. Ch. R. 146; 1 N. & M. 519; 15 Mass. 433; 1 Rill, R. 270; Wright, R. 573; Pet. C. C. R. 230; 5 Hamm. 436 6 Pet. 715; 2 Pet. 148; 6 Porter, 123 1 Hall, 612; 9 Mass. 155; 9 Wheat. 582 11 Wheat. 430; 1 Pet. 25, 89.
     4. Courts will not readily adopt these usages, because they are not unfrequently founded in mistake. 2 Sumn. 377. See 3 Chitt. Pr. 55; Story, Confl. of Laws, Sec. 270; 1 Dall. 178; Vaugh. 169, 383; Bouv. Inst. Index, h.t.

References in classic literature ?
The generous usage the Indians had promised before in my capitulation, was afterwards fully complied with, and we proceeded with them as prisoners to old Chelicothe, the principal Indian town, on Little Miami, where we arrived, after an uncomfortable journey, in very severe weather, on the eighteenth day of February, and received as good treatment as prisoners could expect from savages.
Long usage had, for this Stubb, converted the jaws of death into an easy chair.
When the mason attempted to return to his ordinary work he was informed that he had contravened trade usage, and that his former employers would have nothing more to say to him.
It was like any other seaman's chest on the outside, the initial "B" burned on the top of it with a hot iron, and the corners somewhat smashed and broken as by long, rough usage.
Let us go home, and give over going about in search of adventures in strange lands and places; rightly looked at, it is I that am the greater loser, though it is your worship that has had the worse usage.
For by deviating in exceptional cases from the normal idiom, the language will gain distinction; while, at the same time, the partial conformity with usage will give perspicuity.
Each now tried to out-boast and out-talk the other; a quarrel ensued as a matter of course, and a general fight, according to frontier usage.
The usage on board of her was tyrannical; the sick had been inhumanly neglected; the provisions had been doled out in scanty allowance; and her cruises were unreasonably protracted.
Among the early explorers it was known as the range of Chippewyan Mountains, and this Indian name is the one it is likely to retain in poetic usage.
I mentioned to you before that my expectation of rough usage, in consequence of my German nationality, had proved completely unfounded.
Spelling and punctuation have been largely brought into conformity with modern British usage.
Some say it is because they have not a long literary past and are not conventionalized by the usage of many generations of other writers, but this will hardly account for the brotherly directness of their dealing with human nature; the absence of experience elsewhere characterizes the artist with crudeness, and simplicity is the last effect of knowledge.