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Related to lawfulness: unlawfulness


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.

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


allowed, recognized, or sanctioned by law; legal.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

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.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
To better understand the function of purposiveness in the Typic, let us digress briefly and explore the purposive feature of moral lawfulness with the help of the Critique of Teleological Judgment which complements the account in the Dialectic of the Critique of Pure Reason.
The Brown balancing test requires that courts evaluating the lawfulness of roadblocks consider three factors: 1) the gravity of the public concerns that are addressed or served by the establishment of the roadblock; 2) the degree to which the roadblock is likely to succeed in serving the public interest; and 3) the severity with which the roadblock interferes with individual liberty.
Certificate of Lawfulness (existing) for the use of land to east of site as an overflow car park.
| Your Property Zone Ltd, certificate of lawfulness for existing use of property as C3 dwellinghouse (15 Neale Road) and C4 house in multiple occupation (28 Meltham Road, Lockwood), 15 Neale Road & 28 Meltham Road, Huddersfield, Lockwood.
Yesterday Lords Bingham, Hope, Rodger and Brown and Baroness Hale dismissed a second challenge by the Countryside Alliance and other campaigners to the lawfulness of the Hunting Act.
Chapters in the final section consider the lawfulness and effectiveness of certain alternatives to extradition.
There remains a duty to fight and employ every lawful means to make life difficult for the pharmaceutical industries which act unscrupulously and unethically The lawfulness of the use of these vaccines should not be misinterpreted as a declaration of the lawfulness of their production, marketing, and use, but is to be understood as being a passive material cooperation and, in its mildest and remotest sense, also active, morally justified as an extrema ratio due to the necessity to provide for the good of one's children and of the people who come in contact with the children such as pregnant women.
Tynedale chief planning officer Helen Winter said that Tynedale Council could neither reject Tesco's application for a certificate of lawfulness nor reject Tesco's plans.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the standard for reviewing the lawfulness of a consent search is objective reasonableness, thereby obviating the need for law enforcement officers to be absolutely correct when conducting a search pursuant to a consent.
(2.) Robert Cushman, "Reasons and Considerations Touching the Lawfulness of Removing Out of England into the Parts of America," as found in John Demos, Remarkable Providences (Boston, 1991), 4-11.
Certificate of lawfulness proposed for the erection of single storey extension to side and rear of dwelling, loft conversion including dormers and roof lights and erection of outbuilding for use as a garage.
| M Pazdur, Certificate of lawfulness for proposed construction of bicycle/motorbike store, 29, Briarfield Gardens, Dalton.