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RESPITE, contracts, civil law. An act by which a debtor who is unable to
satisfy his debts at the moment, transacts (i. e. compromises) with his
creditors, and obtains from them time or delay for the payment of the sums
which he owes to them. Louis. Code, 3051.
2. The respite is either voluntary or forced; it is voluntary when all the creditors consent to the proposal, which the debtor makes to pay in a limited time the whole or a part of his debt; it is forced when a part of the creditors refuse to accept the debtor's proposal, and when the latter is obliged to compel them by judicial authority, to consent to what the others have determined in the cases directed by law. Id. 3052; Poth. Proced. Civ. 5eme partie, ch. 3.
3. In Pennsylvania, there is a provision in the insolvent act of June 16, 1836, s. 41, somewhat similar to involuntary respite. It is enacted, that whenever a majority in number and value of the creditors of any insolvent, as aforesaid, residing within the United States, or having a known attorney therein, shall consent in writing thereto, it shall be lawful for the court by whom such insolvent shall have been discharged, upon the application of such debtor, and notice given thereof, in the manner hereinbefore provided for giving notice of his original petition, to make an order that the estate and effects which such insolvent may afterwards acquire, shall be exempted for the term of seven years thereafter from execution, for any debt contracted, or cause of action existing previously to such discharge, and if after such order and consent, any execution shall be issued for such debt or cause of action, it shall be the duty, of any judge of the court from which such execution issued, to set aside the same with costs.
4. Respite also signifies a delay, forbearance or continuation of time.
RESPITE, crim. law. A suspension of a sentence, which is to be executed at a future time. It differs from a pardon, which is in abolition of the crime. See Abolition; Pardon.