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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 ?
If policymakers overuse capacities and allow prison densities to climb too high, eventually inmates will take the solution into their own hands.
Still, new capacities outside Asia are coming forward, and Europe leads the way in the West with almost 2 million metric tons of its own in the next five years.
The capacity indexes are then aggregated by using the same base-period value-added weights that are used in aggregating the comparable production indexes: (2) [Mathematical Expression Omitted] The assumption underlying the use of [P.sub.i,o] in equation 2 is that base-period market prices (actually unit value added) are suitable for aggregating capacities.
To date, the push for higher capacities has focused on the development of smaller acicular particles that can be packed more densely on the tape--the approach used with the particles for SDLTtape II media.
Most professional rehabilitation practitioners might agree that it is not knowledge of the chronic medical condition, but an understanding of the residual functional limitations and functional capacities that are of greatest use when helping their clients develop appropriate rehabilitation plans and programs.
Tape cartridge capacities are also growing at unprecedented rates but are not faced with the super-paramagnetic effect like disk drives.
Central water systems include outdoor air-cooled chillers in 20- to 527-ton capacities and single-, dual-, and multiple-compressor designs, as well as indoor, water-cooled units from 23 to 481 tons.
The Hitachi Travelstar 80GN is also available in 20- and 40-gigabyte capacities.
While certain enterprise server applications require very high input-output-per-second (IOPS) within a scalable rack infrastructure, others may need very high capacities or lower up-front costs.
Capacities from 500 to 1500 cfm, it can be readily added to any existing air ring to improve bubble cooling.
For the upper end of the entry-level server market, Super DLTtape drives will deliver capacities of 160GB per cartridge and 16MB/second sustained transfer rates.