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A clause at the beginning of a constitution or statute explaining the reasons for its enactment and the objectives it seeks to attain.

Generally a preamble is a declaration by the legislature of the reasons for the passage of the statute, and it aids in the interpretation of any ambiguities within the statute to which it is prefixed. It has been held, however, that a preamble is not an essential part of an act, and it neither enlarges nor confers powers.

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


the preliminary part of a document, legislation, a contract or a treaty, usually setting out what it is all about or why it has been prepared, specially used of an Act of Parliament where Parliament expresses the general purposes of the piece of legislation. It can be referred to for the purposes of statutory interpretation.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

PREAMBLE. A preface, an introduction or explanation of what is to follow: that clause at the head of acts of congress or other legislatures which explains the reasons why the act is made. Preambles are also frequently put in contracts to, explain the motives of the contracting parties,
     2. A preamble is said to be the key of a statute, to open the minds of the makers as to the mischiefs which are to be remedied, and the objects which are to be accomplished by the provisions of the statutes. It cannot amount, by implication, to enlarge what is expressly given. 1 Story on Const. B 3, c. 6. How far a preamble is to be considered evidence of the facts it recites, see 4 M. & S. 532; 1 Phil. Ev. 239; 2 Russ. on Cr. 720; and see, generally, Ersk. L. of Scotl. 1, 1, 18; Toull. liv. 3, n. 318; 2 Supp. to Ves. jr. 239; 4 L. R. 55; Barr. on the Stat. 353, 370.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
(190) However, tribunals interpreting other BITs that lacked this preambular language have reached different conclusions.
El parrafo preambular 3 de este Convenio adolece, aunque de manera mas matizada, de una cierta ambiguedad juridica, como aquella mencionada en la Convencion anterior.
(272) Which are at article VIII(2) and preambular paragraph 9.
Walterscheid, The Preambular Argument." The Dubious Premise of Eldred v.
To further guard against unlawful or merely undesirable consequences of indigenous-state conflicts, the DD, which already calls for UN oversight of such conflicts, could add the following to preambular paragraph 17: Emphasizing that the United Nations has an important and continuing role to play in promoting and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples, and a duty to facilitate the peaceful resolution of conflicts and disputes between indigenous peoples and states ...
(139) Finally, if any doubt need be eradicated, the sixteenth preambular paragraph of the Friendly Relations Declaration explicitly describes the seven principles contained therein as the "progressive development and codification" of international law.
The difference between the previous 'Draft' and the March 13 'Draft' can be seen in the Preambular Paragraph 5.
preambular sentence itself can be considered a purpose or principle of
(195) In any event, the regression model suggests that when controlling for the effects of other findings, a finding that the defendant's use fell within one of the preambular categories did not significantly affect the outcome of the fair use test.
From a textual reading, the Declaration's preambular use of certain language in reference to human dignity and rights ("Whereas recognition" and "Whereas the peoples ...
The UNTAES mandate contained the following preambular paragraph: "Determined to ensure the security and freedom of movement of the personnel of the United Nations peacekeeping operation in the Republic of Croatia, and to these ends, acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations." (8)