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Nonprofessional, such as a lay witness who is not a recognized expert in the area that is the subject of the person's testimony. That which relates to persons or entities not clerical or ecclesiastical; a person not in ecclesiastical orders. To present the formal declarations by the parties of their respective claims and defenses in pleadings. A share of the profits of a fishing or Whaling voyage, allotted to the officers and seamen, in the nature of wages.

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

LAY, English law. That which relates to persons or things not ecclesiastical. In the United States the people are not, by law, divided, as in England, into ecclesiastical and lay. The law makes no distinction between them.

TO LAY, pleading. To state or to allege. The place from whence a jury are to be summoned, is called the venue, and the allegation in the declaration, of the place where the jury is to be summoned, is in technical language, said to lay the venue. 3 Steph. Com. 574; 3 Bouv. Inst. n. 2826.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
Can the churches lay down the law for those outside its banner where they are in the minority?
STEVE McCLAREN has already had to lay down the law at Nottingham Forest.
PAUL West vowed to lay down the law on indiscipline after watching Evesham United pick up two red cards in their midweek defeat at Clevedon Town.
Someone's always ready to lay down the law for abstract painting--to let it know what it's not allowed to do.
NEW CHELSEA manager JOSE MOURINHO will lay down the law to his players and warn them they face being booted out of the club if they do not conform to his strict code of conduct.
Tharoor alludes to this evil notion by pointing out that UN Security Council "resolutions do not serve only to codify the acceptable in the eyes of the world; they also, quite directly, lay down the law."
Catholic leaders also need to lay down the law about standards our church has set for care at the end of life, just as we lay down the law about not allowing abortions or sterilizations in our hospitals.