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1) n. collectively all attorneys, as "the bar," which comes from the bar or railing which separates the general spectator area of the courtroom from the area reserved for judges, attorneys, parties and court officials. A party to a case or criminal defendant is "before the bar" when he/she is inside the railing. 2) v. to prevent some legal maneuver, as in "barring" a lawsuit due to the running of the time to file. 3) to prohibit and keep someone from entering a room, building, or real property.

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


1 the area in a court of law separating the part reserved for the bench and Queen's Counsel from the area occupied by junior barristers, solicitors, and the general public.
2 the place in a court of law where the accused stands during his trial.
3 the professional body of pleaders before the High Courts in England: BARRISTERS.
4 in Parliamentary procedure, in the House of Lords and House of Commons, the boundary where nonmembers wishing to address either House appear and where persons are arraigned.
5 a plea showing that a plaintiff has no cause of action, as when the case has already been adjudicated upon or the time allowed for bringing the action has passed or through his actions the claimant can be said to have given up his claim.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

BAR, actions. A perpetual destruction or temporary taking away of the action of the plaintiff. In ancient authors it is called exceptio peremptorid. Co. Litt. 303 b Steph. Pl. Appx. xxviii. Loisel (Institutes Coutumieres, vol. ii. p. 204) says, "Exceptions (in pleas) have been called bars by our ancient practitioners, because, being opposed, they arrest the party who has sued out the process, as in war (une barriere) a barrier arrests an enemy; and as there have always been in our tribunals bars to separate the advocates from the judges, the place where the advocates stand (pour parler) when they speak, has been called for that reason (barreau) the bar."
     2. When a person is bound in any action, real or personal, by judgment on demurrer, confession or verdict, he is barred, i. e. debarred, as to that or any other action of the like nature or degree, for the same thing, forever; for expedit reipublicae ut sit finis litim.
     3. But there is a difference between real and personal actions.
     4. In personal actions, as in debt or account, the bar is perpetual, inasmuch as the plaintiff cannot have an action of a higher nature, and therefore in such actions he has generally no remedy, but by bringing a writ of error. Doct. Plac. 65; 6 Co. 7, 8 4 East, 507, 508.
     5. But if the defendant be barred in a real action, by judgment on a verdict, demurrer or confession, &c., he may still have an action of a higher nature, and try the same right again. Lawes, Pl. 39, 40. See generally, Bac. Ab. Abatement, N; Plea in bar. Also the case of Outram v. Morewood, 3 East, Rep. 346-366; a leading case on this subject.

BAR, practice. A place in a court where the counsellors and advocates stand to make their addresses to the court and jury; it is so called because formerly it was closed with a bar. Figuratively the counsellors and attorneys at law are called the bar of Philadelphia, the New York bar.
     2. A place in a court having criminal jurisdiction, to which prisoners are called to plead to the indictment, is also called, the bar. Vide Merl. Repert. mot Barreau, and Dupin, Profession d'Avocat, tom. i. p. 451, for some eloquent advice to gentlemen of the bar.

BAR, contracts. An obstacle or opposition. 2. Some bars arise from circumstances, and others from persons. Kindred within the prohibited degree, for example, is a bar to a marriage between the persons related; but the fact that A is married, and cannot therefore marry B, is a circumstance which operates as a bar as long as it subsists; for without it the parties might marry.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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