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A violation, by one individual, of another individual's legal rights.

The idea of rights suggests the opposite idea of wrongs, for every right is capable of being violated. For example, a right to receive payment for goods sold implies a wrong on the part of the person who owes, but does not make payment. In the most general point of view, the law is intended to establish and maintain rights, yet in its everyday application, the law must deal with rights and wrongs. The law first fixes the character and definition of rights, and then seeks to secure these rights by defining wrongs and devising the means to prevent these wrongs or provide for their redress.

The Criminal Law is charged with preventing and punishing public wrongs. Public wrongs are violations of public rights and duties that affect the whole community.

A private wrong, also called a civil wrong, is a violation of public or private rights that injures an individual and consequently is subject to civil redress or compensation. A civil wrong that is not based on breach of contract is a tort. Torts include assault, Battery, libel, slander, intentional infliction of mental distress, and damage to property. The same act or omission that makes a tort may also be a breach of contract, but it is the Negligence, not the breaking of the contract, that is the tort. For example, if a lawyer is negligent in representing his client, the lawyer may be sued both for Malpractice, which is a tort, and for breach of the attorney-client contract.

The word wrongful is attached to numerous types of injurious conduct. For example, wrongful death is a type of lawsuit brought on behalf of a deceased person's beneficiaries that alleges that the death was attributable to the willful or negligent conduct of another. However, even in these special contexts, the words wrong, wrongful, and wrongfully do not sharply delineate the exact nature of the wrongness. Their presence merely signifies that something bad has occurred.

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

WRONG. An injury; (q.v.) a tort (q.v.) a violation of right. In its most usual sense, wrong signifies an injury committed to the person or property of another, or to his relative rights, unconnected with contract; and these wrongs are committed with or without force. But in a more extended signification, wrong includes the violation of a contract; a failure by a man to perform his undertaking or promise is a wrong or injury to him to whom it was made. 3 Bl. Com. 158.
     2. Wrongs are divided into public and private. 1. A public wrong is an act which is injurious to the public generally, commonly known by the name of crime, misdemeanor, or offence, and it is punishable in various ways, such as indictments, summary proceedings, and upon conviction by death, imprisonment, fine, &c. 2. Private wrongs, which are injuries to individuals, unaffecting the public: these are redressed by actions for damages, &c.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
The precocious schoolgirl takes off when she gets the wrong end of the stick after spotting Tony comforting Theresa.
Being Billy, he gets the wrong end of the stick when his ex-wife says she wants to make a fresh start, and turns up at her house with flowers and a fluffy rabbit.
And Patrick gets the wrong end of the stick when he is invited for dinner at CORONATION STREET ITV gloats about his plan to open a new restaurant next door to the bistro, only come up with an even more dramatic way to get his revenge on Robert as he tips off the police about the chef's drink-driving.
Later on, Laurel gets the wrong end of the stick about Ashley's health - with disastrous For Beales EASTENDERS BBC1, 7.30pm EVERYTHING spirals out for control for when the social worker visits the Beale discuss adopting Beth.
Sean gets the wrong end of the stick and assumes Jesse is gay, and Becky, Hayley - and eventually Steve - go shopping for a wedding dress.
"He often gets the wrong end of the stick and he's stupid, ignorant, arrogant and bigoted but he is also a useful mouthpiece to show how ridiculous certain people and events can be."
Nathan gets the wrong end of the stick when he thinks Cleo has left him a message to meet him at The Loft for the Nineties night, only for Lisa to make a move on him instead.
Meanwhile, Pearl gets the wrong end of the stick when she thinks Rhona is having an affair with Vanessa.
ROSS becomes increasingly jealous of Rachel's sexy new colleague, Mark, and gets the wrong end of the stick when he spies on her.
If somebody gets the wrong end of the stick and thinks I'm gay - what can I really do about it?
Ned gets the wrong end of the stick when Lauren tells him she cares for him, but he begs her not to tell Brad about his mistake.

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