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The ability, capability, or fitness to do something; a legal right, power, or competency to perform some act. An ability to comprehend both the nature and consequences of one's acts.

Capacity relates to soundness of mind and to an intelligent understanding and perception of one's actions. It is the power either to create or to enter into a legal relation under the same conditions or circumstances as a person of sound mind or normal intelligence would have the power to create or to enter.

A person of normal intelligence and sound mind has the capacity to dispose of his or her property by will as he or she sees fit.

A capacity defense is used in both criminal and civil actions to describe a lack of fundamental ability to be accountable for one's action that nullifies the element of intent when intent is essential to the action, thereby relieving a person of responsibility for it.

An individual under duress lacks the capacity to contract; a child under the age of seven accused of committing a crime lacks criminal capacity.

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


the ability of a person to effect a legal transaction. The paradigm natural person of full age and sound mind usually has full capacity. Others face limitations from time to time and system to system, such as, for example, the young, the mentally ill and corporations.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

CAPACITY. This word, in the law sense, denotes some ability, power, qualification, or competency of persons, natural, or artificial, for the performance of civil acts, depending on their state or condition, as defined or fixed by law; as, the capacity to devise, to bequeath, to grant or convey lands; to take; or to take. and hold lands to make a contract, and the like. 2 Com. Dig. 294; Dane's Abr. h.t.
     2. The constitution requires that the president, senators, and representatives should have attained certain ages; and in the case of the senators and representatives, that out these they have no capacity to serve in these offices.
     3. All laws which regulate the capacity of persons to contract, are considered personal laws; such are the laws which relate to minority and majority; to the powers of guardians or parents, or the disabilities of coverture. The law of the domicil generally governs in cases of this kind. Burge. on Sureties, 89.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
CP film should be thin enough to have fast capacitative charging for the working electrode.
when its inductive reactance balances its capacitative reactance.
The impedance of the driving source which tunes the VCO is usually resistive and the VCO"s tuning port is mainly capacitative. The combination acts as a low pass filter.
In an investigation of the effect on skin of repeated use of two washing agents, all skin function tests (stratum corneum capacitative resistance, lipids, transepidermal water loss, pH, laser Doppler flow, and skin reddening) were markedly changed after a single wash, and after 1 week further damage was noted (52).
The cutting head incorporates a capacitative sensor which maintains the constant cutting top to material stand-off; the cutting head is also equipped with quick-change lens cartridges.
Allison Engineering Ltd are now marketing in the UK a flow-through electrode that utilizes capacitative flow techniques to detect any change in the flow phase through the pipework.
Hircis, or the high-resolution capacitative imaging sensor, uses twin electrodes to generate its own electric field and measure changes in capacitance on surfaces or edges of machined parts that are caused by raised discontinuities (burrs) and beveled edges (chamfers).
The iPhone's large (at the time) screen featured a multi-touch sensor and the capacitative touch interface that replaced traditional QWERTY keyboards as well.
Verkhratsky, "Long-term activation of capacitative [Ca.sup.2+] entry in mouse microglial cells," Neuroscience, vol.