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That which exists, not in fact, but as a result of the operation of law. That which takes on a character as a consequence of the way it is treated by a rule or policy of law, as opposed to its actual character.

For example, constructive knowledge is notice of a fact that a person is presumed by law to have, regardless of whether he or she actually does, since such knowledge is obtainable by the exercise of reasonable care.

For example, possession of the key to a safe-deposit box is constructive possession of the contents of the box since the key gives its holder power and control over the contents.

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


adj. a legal fiction for treating a situation as if it were actually so. Some examples help to clarify this term: although Jeremiah Gotrocks does not have the jewelry in his possession, he has the key to the safe deposit box and the right to enter so he has "constructive possession"; although there is no written trust document, George Holder has picked up $10,000 in bearer bonds from the post office box of his niece Tess Truehart who gave him her post office box combination while she was traveling in Europe--this makes Holder her "constructive trustee." (See: constructive fraud, constructive eviction, constructive notice, constructive notice, constructive possession, constructive trust)

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


deduced by inference or construction; not expressed but inferred, having a deemed legal effect.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

CONSTRUCTIVE. That which is interpreted.
     2. Constructive presence. The commission of crimes, is, when a party is not actually present, an eyewitness to its commission but, acting with others, watching while another commits the crime. 1 Russ. Cr. 22.
     3. Constructive larceny. One where the taking was not apparently felonious, but by construction of the prisoner's acts it is just to presume he intended at the time of taking to appropriate the property feloniously to his own use; 2 East, P. C. 685; 1 Leach, 212; as when he obtained the delivery of the goods animo furandi. 2 N. & M. 90. See 15 S. & R. 93; 4 Mass. 580; I Bay, 242.
     4. Constructive breaking into a house. In order to commit a burglary, there must be a breaking of the house; this may be actual or constructive. A constructive breaking is when the burglar gains an entry into the house by fraud, conspiracy, or threat. See Burglary, A familiar instance of constructive breaking is the case of a burglar who coming to the house under pretence of business, gains admittance, and after being admitted, commits such acts as, if there had been an actual brooking, would have amounted to a burglary Bac. Ab. Burglary, A. See 1 Moody Cr. Cas. 87, 250.
     5. Constructive notice. Such a notice, that although it be not actual, is sufficient in law; an example of this is the recording of a deed, which is notice to all the world, and so is the pendancy of a suit a general notice of an equity. 4 Bouv. Inst. n. 3874. See Lis pendens.
     6. Constructive annexation. The annexation to the inheritance by the law, of certain things which are not actually attached to it; for example, the keys of a house; and heir looms are constructively annexed. Shep. Touch. 90; Poth. Traits des Choses, Sec. 1.
     7. Constructive fraud. A contract or act, which, not originating in evil design and contrivance to perpetuate a positive fraud or injury upon other persons, yet, by its necessary tendency to deceive or mislead them, or to violate a public or private confidence, or to impair or injure public interest, is deemed equally reprehensible with positive fraud, and therefore is prohibited by law, as within the same reason and mischief as contracts and acts done malo animo. 1 Story, Eq. Sec. 258 to 440.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
constructiveness. 8 Reviewing and rethinking Feeling of inner integrity, and evaluating the past perfection and victory, work-life.
Once the constructiveness of the proof of the BPL was verified, we planned to move to Coq [4], a proof assistant based on constructive type theory.
But what happens is that one rebel sabotages one candidate, another sabotages a second candidate and in the process the party as a whole gets sabotaged," she said, adding: " Our motto should be unity and constructiveness." If Advani struck a discordant note against Modi, Chouhan, too, tried to steal his thunder by presenting himself as an icon of inclusive development.
Either approach requires creativity, constructiveness, persistence, and a willingness to be proactive.
Summary: TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Ambassador to Moscow Mahmoud Reza Sajjadi announced Tehran's readiness to attend talks with the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany), and said the country is hopeful about the constructiveness of the upcoming negotiations.
Minister Poposki underlined the Macedonian constructiveness in the process, expressing both his hope and his expectation that the other party in the talks would also approach the process employing good will and preparedness to make a significant step forward in finally finding a mutually acceptable solution to the dispute.
If constructiveness and moderation represent the cornerstone of this new direction, its inauguration should start within the home soil of the Gulf, in reform that would go beyond skyscrapers and advanced infrastructure.
Ulrike Brisson has emphasized the usefulness of travel narratives and literature as a way to engage students, contending that "travel writing can serve important pedagogical missions, namely creating a critical awareness for the constructiveness of representations of other people, their identities, and cultures." (1) Likewise, Valerie Hansen and Ken Curtis's Voyages in World History textbook also reveals the value and efficacy of travel in framing world history courses.
As a kind of social political power, network nationalism has shown its effect of both destructiveness and constructiveness. Destructiveness mainly manifests in extreme speech, exclusivity and trouble making, while constructiveness mainly in the awareness of Chinese social power for the political participation, which stimulates the formation of Chinese netizen society, and at the same time constantly express, shape and aggregate the national and ethnic identification for the Chinese (Wang, 2006).
To underscore this instruction, an elemental subplot of the film is the building of the Stalin-Allee, where the constructiveness of mutual aid and community service results in genuine personal fulfillment for Agnes as and is contrasted against the destructive forces of ego-driven wrangling, moral hypocrisy and compromise as depicted in the theater world of West Berlin.
Localization in the global arena means the Islamic perspective will contribute, once more, its great values of constructiveness, benevolence and justice to international relations.
The spirit of constructiveness and pragmatism advocated by the UN Secretary General is the basis of the autonomy initiative under the Kingdom's territorial integrity and sovereignty, presented by Morocco in 2007 as a compromised solution open to negotiation.

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