criminal conversation

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Criminal Conversation

A tort under Common Law that involves the seduction of another person's spouse.

A few states still permit a lawsuit for damages by the injured spouse against the wrongdoer. Many states have abolished this action.

Criminal conversation is not the same as alienation of affection, which does not necessarily involve the commission of Adultery.

criminal conversation

formerly, a common law action brought by a husband by which he claimed damages against an adulterer.

CRIMINAL CONVERSATION, crim. law. This phrase is usually employed to denote the crime of adultery. It is abbreviated crim. con. Bac. Ab. Marriage, E 2; 4 Blackf. R. 157.
     2. The remedy for criminal conversation is, by an action on the case for damages. That the plaintiff connived, or assented to, his wife's infidelity, or that he prostituted her for gain, is a complete answer to the action. See Connivance. But the facts that the wife's character for chastity was bad before the plaintiff married her; that he lived with her after he knew of the criminal intimacy with the defendant; that he had connived at her intimacy with other men;, or that the plaintiff had been false to his wife, only go in mitigation of damages. 4 N. Hamp. R. 501.
     3. The wife cannot maintain an action for criminal conversation with her husband; and for this, among other reasons, because her husband, who is particeps criminis, must be joined with her as plaintiff.

References in periodicals archive ?
First, insofar as criminal conversation had enabled a man of inferior social status to sue a gentleman, the case highlighted the law as a forum in which hierarchy and customary norms could potentially be rendered unstable, a fact relevant to the circumstances of the 1790s when crim.
In February he attempted to sue the Duke of Hamilton for criminal conversation with his wife.
Separate maintenance disrupted the ideological project of the criminal conversation trial by proposing an alternative reading of marriage that was much less amenable to the emphasis on the wife as passive victim of a predatory seducer and on the primarily affective nature of the marital bond.
The separation agreement had prevented a criminal conversation case between Twisleton and Stein.
Money for Honor: Damages for Criminal Conversation.
Plaintiff, and Major-General Gunning, Defendant, for Criminal Conversation.
The Whole of the Trial of Major Hook, for Criminal Conversation with his own Niece, Mrs.
Wrongful discourse, criminal conversation, intercourse, and narrative all interweave here to produce a strong defense against those who have used her relations with the Prince and Tarleton against her.
What is interesting about the configuration of honor, publicity, and criminal conversation is how mutable the boundaries between these are for men.
The "nature" in natural rights becomes disarticulated in the female case: a natural daughter, as one of Robinson's novel titles clarifies, is an illicit being produced by criminal conversation.
But in creating multiple ways to portray herself as being on trial, Robinson has pushed the borders for understanding the cultural definitions of women's roles: mistresses or courtesans versus wives, public women versus private women, criminal conversation versus women's proper discourse.
In effect, there have been four ways of being on trial organizing this essay: criminal conversation cases, Robinson's verse defense of her emotional "marriage" to Tarleton, Robinson's legal arguments which position women as perpetual trial defendants in her Letter to the Women of England, and Princess Caroline's divorce hearing.