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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 ?
Ghezzo et al., "Role of inspiratory capacity on exercise tolerance in COPD patients with and without tidal expiratory flow limitation at rest," European Respiratory Journal, vol.
Inspiratory capacity increased 200 ml (95% CI 0 to 400) more after the experimental intervention and slow vital capacity increased 200 ml (95% CI 0 to 400) more after the experimental intervention than the control intervention.
As shown in Table 4, the factors associated with a risk of hospitalization in the univariate regression analysis were age, total symptom duration in years, MMRC dyspnea score, BMI, FVC, predicted percentage of FVC, [FEV.sub.1] predicted percentage of [FEV.sub.1] [FEV.sub.1]/FVC, inspiratory capacity, Pa[O.sub.2], PaC[O.sub.2], arterial oxygen saturation, C-reactive protein level, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (P < 0.05).
V[O.sub.2]: oxygen uptake; VE: minute ventilation; IC: inspiratory capacity. * No significant differences were found between the different time points during interval exercise.
Pay attention to those flashing numbers on the ventilator's tidal breath readout during a coughing episode elicited during low-level pressure support--they usually give a pretty good idea of the inspiratory capacity.
Slow vital capacity, inspiratory capacity, expiratory reserve volume, forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in 1 s ([FEV.sub.-1]), [FEV.sub.-1]/FVC, forced mid-expiratory flow phase, peak expiratory flow, maximal voluntary ventilation, and tidal volume were measured.
Age-related changes at a standardized oxygen uptake (V[O.sub.2]) during exercise included significant increases in breathlessness ratings (Borg scale), ventilation ([V.sub.E]), ventilatory equivalent for carbon dioxide, and the ratio of tidal volume ([V.sub.T]) to dynamic inspiratory capacity (IC) (all P < 0.05).
When pulmonary function was measured by traditional methods, like spirometry and body plethysmography, swimmers presented higher forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1.0) as well as larger vital capacity (VC), total lung capacity (TLC), inspiratory capacity (IC), and functional residual capacity (FRC) (Armour et al., 1993; Clanton et al., 1987; Cordain et al., 1990; Courteix et al., 1997; Doherty and Dimitriou, 1997).

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