custom

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custom

or

usage

a residual source of law.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

CUSTOM. A usage which had acquired the force of law. It is, in fact, a lex loci, which regulates all local or real property within its limits. A repugnancy which destroys it, must be such as to show it never did exist. 5 T. R. 414. In Pennsylvania no customs have the force of law but those which prevail throughout the state. 6 Binn. 419, 20.
     2. A custom derives its force from the tacit consent of the legislature and the people, and supposes an original, actual deed or agreement. 2 Bl. Com. 30, 31; 1 Chit. Pr. 283. Therefore, custom is the best interpreter of laws: optima est legum interpres consuetudo. Dig. 1, 8, 37; 2 Inst. 18. It follows, therefore, there; can be no custom in relation to a matter regulated by law. 8 M. R. 309. Law cannot be established or abrogated except by the sovereign will, but this will may be express or implied and presumed and whether it manifests itself by word or by a series of facts, is of little importance. When a custom is public, peaceable, uniform, general, continued, reasonable and certain, and has lasted "time whereof the memory of man runneth not to the contrary," it acquires the force of law. And when any doubts arise as to the meaning of a statute, the custom which has prevailed on the subject ought to have weight in its construction, for the manner in which a law has always been executed is one of its modes of interpretation. 4 Penn. St. Rep. 13.
     3. Customs are general or, particular customs. 1. By general customs is meant the common law itself, by which proceedings and determinations in courts are guided.
     2. Particular customs, are those which affect the inhabitants of some particular districts only. 1 Bl. Com. 68, 74. Vide 1 Bouv. Inst. n. 121 Bac. Ab. h.t.; 1 Bl. Com. 76; 2 Bl. Com. 31; 1 Lill. Reg. 516; 7 Vin. Ab. 164; Com. Dig. h.t.; Nelson's Ab. h.t. the various Amer. Digs. h.t. Ayl. Pand. 15, 16; Ayl. Pareg. 194; Doct. Pl. 201; 3 W. C. C. R. 150; 1 Gilp. 486; Pet. C. C. R. 220; I Edw. Ch. R. 146; 1 Gall. R. 443; 3 Watts, R. 178; 1 Rep. Const. Ct. 303, 308; 1 Caines, R. 45; 15 Mass. R. 433; 1 Hill, R. 270; Wright, R. 573; 1 N. & M. 176; 5 Binn. R. 287; 5 Ham. R. 436; 3 Conn. R. 9; 2 Pet. R. 148; 6 Pet. R. 715; 6 Porter R. 123; 2 N. H. Rep. 93; 1 Hall, R. 612; 1 Harr. & Gill, 239; 1 N. S. 192; 4 L. R. 160; 7 L. R. 529; Id. 215.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in classic literature ?
Bobbinet, when his customers were properly out of hearing, "that THESE young ladies should let such an article slip through their fingers.
There are a sort of customers that don't buy promiscuously; they do every thing by rule.
"Well, here it is for you," said Hepzibah, reaching it down; but recognizing that this pertinacious customer would not quit her On any other terms, so long as she had a gingerbread figure in her shop, she partly drew back her extended hand, "Where is the cent?"
A round, bustling, fire-ruddy housewife of the neighborhood burst breathless into the shop, fiercely demanding yeast; and when the poor gentlewoman, with her cold shyness of manner, gave her hot customer to understand that she did not keep the article, this very capable housewife took upon herself to administer a regular rebuke.
And yet just because, in a strictly business-like way, she was civil to her customers, he must scowl and bite his lip and behave generally as if it had been brought to his notice that he had been nurturing a serpent in his bosom.
'It isn't fair,' she said, one morning when the rush of customers had ceased and they had the shop to themselves.
-- To promenade, as usual, and large customer brought (fat man).....................................................
It is true, she was looking very charming herself, and Stephen was paying her the utmost attention on this public occasion; jealously buying up the articles he had seen under her fingers in the process of making, and gayly helping her to cajole the male customers into the purchase of the most effeminate futilities.
She was sitting quite still, for the stream of customers had lessened at this late hour in the afternoon; the gentlemen had chiefly chosen the middle of the day, and Maggie's stall was looking rather bare.
There was a door above and another below, both safely padlocked, making the stairs an admirable place to stow away a customer who might still chance to have money, or a political light whom it was not advisable to kick out of doors.
Percerin's doors were closed, while a servant, standing before them, was explaining to the illustrious customers of the illustrious tailor that just then M.
He seemed wilfully to mistake the word she had repeated, when he added, in a hurry, "Yes, customers; in the banking business we usually call our connection our customers.

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