legal fiction


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Legal Fiction

An assumption that something occurred or someone or something exists which, in fact, is not the case, but that is made in the law to enable a court to equitably resolve a matter before it.

In order to do justice, the law will permit or create a legal fiction. For example, if a person undertakes a renunciation of a legacy which is a gift by will the person will be deemed to have predeceased the testator—one who makes a will—for the purpose of distributing the estate.

legal fiction

n. a presumption of fact assumed by a court for convenience, consistency, or to achieve justice. There is an old adage: "Fictions arise from the law, and not law from fictions."

legal fiction

something assumed to be true for the sake of convenience whether true or false. See e.g. LOST MODERN GRANT.
References in periodicals archive ?
The legal fiction that is a corporation still cannot be put in jail, but the fines and the stigma of criminal status can set the company far back on its fictional heels.
Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property.
Supreme Court has gradually incorporated other elements of the Bill of Rights into the 14th Amendment, using this legal fiction to "justify" overturning state laws concerning abortion, school prayer, capital punishment, etc.
They created the legal fiction of terra nullius to steal trillions of dollars worth of land and resources.
Although no-one really knew who it was among the family who had chopped up Patrick Jnr, Mary Anne escaped by a legal fiction and both Con and his sister Hannah were found guilty.
Because of the legal fiction the judges use, it could not be called a baby, and therefore the midwives could not be accused of manslaughter.
It stemmed from an old legal fiction that husband and wife are "one person" so neither could sue the other for wrongs during the marriage.
Gordimer gives us Duncan's trial in detail, providing all the data of inwardness absent from most legal fiction.
Unlike the British, who made a clear juridical distinction between the metropole and the periphery, the French maintained the legal fiction that their colonies were an integral part of the French Union, one and indivisible.
In that case, libel should be considered a legal fiction, which is to say that it doesn't exist except within a system of laws conducive to state-based abuse.
8~ James Joyce, writing within the colonial frame of turn-of-the-century Ireland, spells out the political implications of this when he has Stephen Dedalus exclaim in Ulysses that "paternity may be a legal fiction," and is only as secure as the power of state and law to back it up.
The nominee theory attempts to discern whether a taxpayer has engaged in a legal fiction, for federal tax purposes, by placing title to property in the hands of another while actually retaining all or some of the benefits of being the true owner.