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Conforming to the law; required or permitted by law; not forbidden by law.

The term legal is often used by the courts in reference to an inference of the law formulated as a matter of construction, rather than established by actual proof, such as legal malice.

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


adj., adv. according to law, not in violation of law, or anything related to the law.

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.


1 pertaining to LAW.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

HEIR, LEGAL, civil law. A legal heir is one who is of the same blood of the deceased, and who takes the succession by force of law; this is different from a testamentary or conventional heir, who takes the succession in virtue of the disposition of man. See Civil, Code of Louis. art. 873, 875; Dict. de Jurisp., Heritier legitime. There are three classes of legal heirs, to wit; the children and other lawful descendants; the fathers and mothers and other lawful ascendants; and the collateral kindred. Civ. Code of Lo. art. 883.

LEGAL. That which is according to law. It is used in opposition to equitable, as the legal estate is, in the trustee, the equitable estate in the cestui que trust. Vide Powell on Mortg. Index, h.t.
     2. The party who has the legal title, has alone the right to seek a remedy for a wrong to his estate, in a court of law, though he may have no beneficial interest in it. The equitable owner, is he who has not the legal estate, but is entitled to the beneficial interest.
     3. The person who holds the legal estate for the benefit of another, is called a trustee; he who has the beneficiary interest and does not hold the legal title, is called the beneficiary, or more technically, the cestui que trust.
     4. When the trustee has a claim, he must enforce his right in a court of equity, for he cannot sue any one at law, in his own name; 1 East, 497; 8 T. R. 332; 1 Saund. 158, n. 1; 2 Bing. 20; still less can he in such court sue his own trustee. 1 East, 497.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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