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Governmental entities that have been created and delegated with official responsibilities, such as a county highway authority. In legal research and citation, entities cited as sources of law, such as statutes, judicial decisions, and legal textbooks. Parties support their positions in a lawsuit by citing authorities in briefs, motions, and other documents submitted to the court.

Primary authorities are citations to statutes, court decisions, and government regulations that, if having the force of law, must be applied by the court to dispose of the issue in dispute if they are relevant to the matter. Secondary authorities are references to treatises, textbooks, or restatements that explain and review general principles of law that buttress a party's position in a lawsuit. Such authorities have no legal effect and can be disregarded by the court.

Authorities are also cited by scholars in legal treatises, hornbooks and restatements to establish the bases of the statements and conclusions contained in the works.


Primary Authority; Secondary Authority.


n. 1) previous decisions by courts of appeal which provide legal guidance to a court on questions in a current lawsuit, which are called "precedents." Legal briefs (written arguments) are often called "points and authorities." Thus, a lawyer "cites" the previously-decided cases as "authorities" for his/her legal positions. 2) a common term for law enforcement, as in "I'm going to call the authorities" (i.e. police). (See: precedent, cite, brief)


noun administration, commanders, executives, government, heads, officeholders, officials, persons in office, persons of commanding influence, potestates, powers that be, rulers, those holding power, those in command, those in control, those of influence, those who rule
Associated concepts: competent authorities, governmental authorities, lawful authorities, local authorities, municipal authorities, port authorities, turnpike and toll authorities
See also: bureaucracy, hierarchy

AUTHORITIES, practice. By this word is understood the citations which are made of laws, acts of the legislature, and decided cases, and opinions of elementary writers. In its more confined sense, this word means, cases decided upon solemn argument which are said to 'be authorities for similar judgments iii like cases. 1 Lilly's Reg. 219. These latter are sometimes called precedents. (q.v.) Merlin, Repertoire, mot Autorites.
     2. It has been remarked, that when we find an opinion in a text writer upon any particular point, we must consider it not merely as the opinion of the author, but as the supposed result of the authorities to which he refers; 3 Bos. & Pull. 361; but this is not always the case, and frequently the opinion is advanced with the reasons which support it, and it must stand or fall as these are or are not well founded. A distinction has been made between writers who have, and those who have not holden a judicial station; the former are considered authority, and the latter are not so considered unless their works have been judicially approved as such. Ram. on Judgments, 93. But this distinction appears not to be well founded; some writers who have occupied a judicial station do not possess the talents or the learning of others who have not been so elevated, and the works or writings of the latter are much more deserving the character of an authority than those of the former. See 3 T. R. 4, 241.

References in periodicals archive ?
It also recommends that public health authorities have the power during a declared emergency to use public safety officials to help enforce orders issued under this declaration.
In addition, the European Union has instituted a mandatory procedure that provides for binding arbitration to solve disagreements between EU taxing authorities in respect of transfer pricing disputes that cannot be resolved through the Competent Authority process within two years.
I believe that the Holy Spirit is using the fallibility of our religious authorities to guide the entire Christian community into the new level of maturity and responsibility necessary for the spiritual growth of the human community in today's world.
establish full state sharing of Public Authority costs for wage and benefit increases up to the hourly program cost cap of 200 percent of the state minimum wage, thus establishing fiscal parity between Public Authorities and agency contractors.
Foreign monetary authorities began to accumulate dollars as they intervened to maintain the value of their currencies in the face of growing U.
6662-4(d) (3) (i) and (ii), in determining whether a return position is supported by substantial authority, a taxpayer must weigh objectively all favorable and unfavorable authorities relevant to the tax treatment of an item.
Rather, taxpayers that are willing to accept an adjustment agreed to by the competent authorities should not be required to go through the Appeals process.
competent authorities may seek data from the taxpayer
In a subsequent examination initiated by the foreign revenue authorities, the foreign country contests the rate paid as excessive and reduces the rate from five percent to four.