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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 classic literature ?
And so we get a double set of masters," cried Tom indignantly-- "the lawful ones, who are responsible to the Doctor at any rate, and the unlawful, the tyrants, who are responsible to nobody.
Public opinion wouldn't allow them actually to rob him of his ticket, but any humbug or intimidation by which he could be driven to sell the whole or part at an undervalue was lawful.
But you must calm yourself; you must be peaceful, lawful, mild as any lamb.
ETSI Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) Industry Specification Group has just released 3 new specifications on security and reliability, providing guidance on lawful interception implementation in an NVF environment, giving a survey of the security features in an open source management software relevant to NFV, with OpenStackTM as the first case study and describing a study of how today's Cloud/Data Centre techniques can be adapted to achieve scalability, efficiency, and reliability in NFV environments.
Leading Thursday afternoon's charge against lawful American gun owners was, of course, Barack Obama.
The trial court dismissed Coats' claim, finding that the Amendment provided registered patients an affirmative defense to state criminal prosecution without making their use of medical marijuana a lawful activity within the meaning of the law.
com/research/s43dnn/global_lawful) has announced the addition of the "Global Lawful Interception Market 2015-2019" report to their offering.
citizens and lawful permanent residents to request deferred action and employment authorization for three years, in a new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents; and the expansion of the use of provisional waivers of unlawful presence to include the spouses and sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents and the sons and daughters of U.
Under the constitutional, lawful and democratic way I would have said hold elections again," Ashraf told reporters during a news conference.
J Salik petitioner has taken plea in his petition that liquor has been declared unlawful in Islam and on the other hand income being collected out of tax on the liquor is being included in lawful budget continuously.
Gary Stretch has been found guilty of three counts of preventing the lawful burial of a body and one of attempted murder at Cambridge Crown Court.
Gary Stretch, 47, of Riseholme, Orton Goldhay, Peterborough, was found guilty at Cambridge Crown Court of three charges of preventing the lawful burial of three men and one count of attempted murder.