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n. the right to be first or ahead of the rights or claims of others. In bankruptcy law, the right to collect before other creditors is given to taxing authorities, judgment holders, secured creditors, bankruptcy trustees and attorneys. The right also can apply to mortgages, deeds of trusts or liens given priority in the order they were recorded (in the "race to the courthouse").

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

PRIORITY. Going before; opposed to posteriority. (q.v.)
     2. He who has the precedency in time has the advantage in right, is the maxim of the law; not that time, considered barely in itself, can make any such difference, but because the whole power over a thing being secured to one person, this bars all others from obtaining a title to it afterwards. 1 Fonb. Eq. 320.
     3. In the payment of debts, the United States are entitled to priority when the debtor is insolvent, or dies and leaves an insolvent estate. The priority was declared to extend to cases in which the insolvent debtor had made a voluntary assignment of all his property, or in which his effects had been attached as an absconding or absent debtor, on which an act of legal bankruptcy had been committed. 1 Kent, Com. 243; 1 Law Intell. 219, 251; and the cases there cited.
     4. Among common creditors, he who has the oldest lien has the preference; it being a maxim both of law and equity, qui prior est tempore, potior est jure. 2 John. Ch. R. 608. Vide Insolvency; and Serg. Const. La*, Index, h.t.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
In each service request, an agent transforms the priority self-reported by the user into a priority that can be fairly compared with the priorities of other users.
It is complex because it affects more than one circle and directly competes with other priorities.
To read about the LWVUS priorities for 2007, check your e-mail or the League Web site ( for my weekly Leaders' message on the first Thursday in February.
Every two years, the president's cabinet--in consultation with the college's formal strategic planning group, the various division councils, the college council, student government, environmental scanning and demographic studies, and other constituent groups--reviews the mission and primary goals of the college to distill the short-term vision down to a few easy-to-articulate and clear priorities.
I think their first priorities have to be safety and reliability, affordability, long-term financial stability, and investment in infrastructure."
Yet, the questions of program priorities occupy the time of many of those involved in operating and modernizing our space infrastructure.
The priorities of adjustment and access were dominant when many of today's senior teachers and administrators entered their professional lives.
In establishing your priorities, you have to ask yourself: "What do I need to do first" and then, "What comes next?" and "What absolutely must be completed today?"
President Bush is currently riding a wave of success--success politically, with the election wins; success legislatively, in the creation of the Department of Homeland Security; and success internationally, with the United Nations and Iraq--and it appears that he will have success with his legislative priorities in the 108th Congress.
To identify, prioritize, and coordinate short-term Bacillus anthracis bioterrorism research for public health response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) convened a meeting in Atlanta on December 10-11, 2001, to obtain input on research priorities and improve coordination with federal partners and other stakeholders.
Rule 2.052, Calendar Conflicts, also was amended to "correct any misconceptions that may exist about the effect of that rule." The court substituted the word "guidelines" for the word "priorities" throughout the existing rule to ensure that judges and attorneys understand that the rule simply provides guidelines for resolving calendar conflicts and the resolution of such conflicts.