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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 ?
The public benefit concept gives new strength to the Charities Commission for England and Wales, the independent charities regulator, but could be troublesome in the relations between the commission and the charitable sector.
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 claimed that other Florida programs that permit such spending "are structurally different from the OSP, which provides a systematic private school alternative to the public school system...."
In a survey carried out in the UK in 2003, most joint use libraries opened for a time after school to allow use by the public in the early evening, and a number also had a "late night" when they remained open until around 7:30 p.m.
"While contractors understand the difference in bidding for public and private sector work and can prepare for the risks, what has added to the challenge in the public sector is the escalating cost of certain materials," Seibolb explains.
The region's military public affairs officers formed a joint information bureau to prepare press releases and sent a representative to the county's emergency operations center to coordinate military-civilian announcements to the public. Civilian and military mental health providers, however, lacked coordination in the delivery of their services.
Specifically, the subcommittee is debating how to word recommendations for the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) to consider leniency in two areas: 1) external auditor assistance in implementing new standards; and 2) external auditor review of the accounting treatment for new transactions.
There are numerous initiatives to "improve" the public school system.
Biological markers are also highly useful tools for studies of interventions aimed at protecting the public. New technologies associated with the unraveling of the human genome, including molecular, computational, and structural biology, have much to offer human population studies (Waters et al.
Jose de Freitas Mascarenhas, vice-president of the National Industrial Confederation (CNI) and president of the CNI Infrastructure Committee, is more blunt: "The public sector in Brazil always pays late."
Since 1977, members of the AICPA's SEC Practice Section, now the Center for Public Company Audit Firms, and the Private Companies Practice Section, now Partnering for CPA Firm Success, have made their peer review information available to the public. These reports are available for anyone and accessible from the AICPA website.
Because the public sector of health care is huge, growing and full of lots of opportunities with plenty of potential for upward mobility.