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As a noun, the whole body politic, or the aggregate of the citizens of a state, nation, or municipality. The community at large, without reference to the geographical limits of any corporation like a city, town, or county; the people.

As an adjective, open to all; notorious. Open to common use. Belonging to the people at large; relating to or affecting the whole people of a state, nation, or community; not limited or restricted to any particular class of the community.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1) n. the people of the nation, state, county, district or municipality, which the government serves. 2) adj. referring to any agency, interest, property, or activity which is under the authority of the government or which belongs to the people. This distinguishes public from private interests as with public and private schools, public and private utilities, public and private hospitals, public and private lands, and public and private roads.

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

LAW, PUBLIC. A public law is one in which all persons have an interest.

POLICY, PUBLIC. By public policy is meant that which the law encourages for the promotion of the public good.
     2. That which is against public policy is generally unlawful. For example, to restrain an individual from marrying, or from engaging in business, when the restraint is general, in the first case, to all persons, and, in the second, to all trades, business, or occupations. But if the restraint be only partial, as that Titius shall not marry Moevia, or that Caius shall not engage in a particular trade in a particular town or, place, the restraint is not against public policy,, and therefore valid. 1 Story, Eq. Jur. Sec. 274. See Newl. Contr. 472.

PUBLIC. By the term the public, is meant the whole body politic, or all the citizens of the state; sometimes it signifies the inhabitants of a particular place; as, the New York public.
     2. A distinction has been made between the terms public and general, they are sometimes used as synonymous. The former term is applied strictly to that which concerns all the citizens and every member of the state; while the latter includes a lesser, though still a large portion of the community. Greenl. Ev. Sec. 128.
     3. When the public interests and its rights conflict with those of an individual, the latter must yield. Co. Litt. 181. if, for example, a road is required for public convenience, and in its course it passes on the ground occupied by a house, the latter must be torn down, however valuable it may be to the owner. In such a case both law and justice require that the owner shall be fully indemnified.
     4. This term is sometimes joined to other terms, to designate those things which have a relation to the public; as, a public officer, a public road, a public passage, a public house.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
Under Ohio's open enrollment policy, Akron's school system loses three times as many students as it takes in from other schools every year, due to student flight from public schools.
"We will follow the courts' approach and develop our decisions on public benefit in the context of changing economic and social conditions, including public attitudes." A new Charity Appeals Tribunal will be able to review the commission's decisions, and appeal to the courts will remain open.
Taking advantage of this moment of opportunity, the Public Campaign Action Fund has launched a campaign, "Seizing the Moment." One major prong of the campaign is a pledge drive designed to put candidates for public office on record on the issue of reform.
The court focused on an article in the Florida constitution stating: "Adequate provision shall be made by law for a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high-quality system of free public schools." It interpreted this to mean that "free public schools" shall be the sole way in which the state provides for children's education, although that is not what the constitution says.
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In a survey he conducted to determine the public's perceptions of higher education access, McGough found that nearly half of those surveyed think a majority of low-income students aren't academically qualified to attend a four-year public university.
As Bundy points out, "The pressure for public schools to demonstrate accountability through community access to underused school facilities has undoubtedly been one reason for proposals for joint-use libraries in several countries" (Bundy, 2002, p.
Also, the endeavor is not a public good, which can be defined as a one that is "neither excludable nor rival" (Mankiw, 225).
According to Joseph Seibolb, president of PinnacleOne, contractors tend to be wary of the constraints inherent in public construction work and are afraid to find themselves liable for increases in material costs.
Contact tracing, issuing verbal quarantine orders and instructions, and delivering news to the public were generally well coordinated.