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Licit; legally warranted or authorized.

The terms lawful and legal differ in that the former contemplates the substance of law, whereas the latter alludes to the form of law. A lawful act is authorized, sanctioned, or not forbidden by law. A legal act is performed in accordance with the forms and usages of law, or in a technical manner. In this sense, illegal approaches the meaning of invalid. For example, a contract or will, executed without the required formalities, might be regarded as invalid or illegal, but could not be described as unlawful.

The term lawful more clearly suggests an ethical content than does the word legal. The latter merely denotes compliance with technical or formal rules, whereas the former usually signifies a moral substance or ethical permissibility. An additional distinction is that the word legal is used as the synonym of constructive, while lawful is not. Legal fraud is Fraud implied by law, or made out by construction, but lawful fraud would be a contradiction in terms. Legal is also used as the antithesis of equitable, just. As a result, legal estate is the correct usage, instead of lawful estate. Under certain circumstances, however, the two words are used as exact equivalents. A lawful writ, warrant, or process is the same as a legal writ, warrant, or process.


adjective according to fiat, according to law, allowable, allowed, authorized by law, conformable to law, conformable with the law, constitutional, established, in accordance with the law, in conformity to the law, inviolable, law-abiding, legal, legalized, legitimate, legitimus, licit, nomothetic, obedient, permissible, permitted, prescribed by law, proper, sanctioned, sanctioned by law, statutable, unprohibited, valid, warranted by law, within the law
Associated concepts: lawful act, lawful age, lawful beneficiiry, lawful business, lawful command, lawful custody, lawwul damages, lawful entry, lawful heirs, lawful interest, lawwul issue, lawful order, lawful possession, lawful process, lawful purpose, lawful representative, lawful use
See also: allowable, allowed, choate lien, civic, clean, de jure, due, forensic, juridical, just, justifiable, legal, legitimate, licit, permissible, regular, rightful, statutory, unalienable, valid


allowed, recognized, or sanctioned by law; legal.

LAWFUL. That which is not forbidden by law. Id omne licitum est, quod non est legibus prohibitum, quamobrem, quod, lege permittente, fit, poenam non meretur. To be valid a contract must be lawful.

References in periodicals archive ?
If the activity he is going to carry out is lawful and is provided for in the constitution of Kenya, we will provide security.
USCIS also maintains the Citizenship Resource Center, an online hub that provides learning materials to help lawful permanent residents prepare for the naturalization process.
The growth of the world lawful interception market would be supplemented by the supportive government regulations and rising volume of data traffic and security threats
TechNavio's report, Global Lawful Interception Market 2015-2019, has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts.
Dish Network argued because marijuana use remains illegal under federal law, Coats' conduct was not protected under the lawful activities statute.
The jury is still considering one charge of attempted murder against Stretch and two counts of preventing a lawful burial against Layton.
Dennehy, who is awaiting sentencing, has also admitted two attempted murders and preventing three lawful burials.
BlackBerry says it had provided a solution to the Indian government that allowed the law enforcement agencies to have lawful access to its communication services, including BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) and BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) email.
THE EUROPEAN Parliament yesterday adopted a common position on the fenced off area of Famagusta, calling on Turkey to return Varosha to its lawful inhabitants.
Second, no blocking: fixed broadband providers may not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices; mobile broad-band providers may not block lawful websites, or block applications that compete with their voice or video telephony services.
The Governor's Lawful Citizens Imprisonment Act (H.
The enemy property could be divested only to the owner or his lawful heir.