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Having reference to things that happened in the past, prior to the occurrence of the act in question.

A retroactive or retrospective law is one that takes away or impairs vested rights acquired under existing laws, creates new obligations, imposes new duties, or attaches a new and different legal effect to transactions or considerations already past. Common-law principles do not favor the retroactive effect of laws in the majority of cases, and canons of legislative construction presume that legislation is not intended as retroactive unless its language expressly makes it retroactive.

Retroactive criminal laws that increase punishment for acts committed prior to their enactments are deemed Ex Post Facto Laws and are unenforceable because they violate Article I, Section 9, Clause 3, and Section 10, Clause 1, of the U.S. Constitution and comparable provisions of state constitutions.

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


adj. referring to a court's decision or a statute enacted by a legislative body, which would result in an application to past transactions and legal actions. In criminal law, statutes which would increase penalties or make criminal activities which had been previously legal are prohibited by the Constitutional ban on ex post facto laws (Article I, Section 9). Most court decisions which change the elements necessary to prove a crime or the introduction of evidence such as confessions are usually made non-retroactive to prevent a flood of petitions of people convicted under prior rules. Nor can statutes or court decisions take away "vested" property rights or change contract rights. However, some decisions are so fundamental to justice they may have a retroactive effect, depending on the balance on stability of the law balanced against the public good. Retroactive is also called "retrospective." (See: ex post facto)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
A la fin de chaque congres, le comite organisateur et la planificatrice d'evenements rempliront une evaluation ecrite sur l'experience entourant le congres, ce qui fournira une precieuse retroaction au CA et aux membres sur le congres.
But I believe this fear only derives from the possible retroaction of death as a definition of life, in contrast to the act of self-definition, in which he seeks some component of causality.
(2) In my description here of the mutually determinative effects of the past and present moments that constitute trauma, I am glossing Freud's theory of Nachtraglichkeit, a concept which has been translated variously as "afterwardsness," "deferred action," "retroaction," and "retrodetermination" in English, and "apres-coup" in French (see Eickhoff; see also Wyatt, especially 215).
Wherever it is done without changing people against their essence but where the focus lies on finding and developing their personality and strengths, positive retroaction on the organizational culture can be expected along with common benefit in all economic actions.
The most important is to have the goals clearly enunciated, to make the student aware of the methodology to be used and of the structure of the activity, to privilege incentives using group work, collaboration and cooperation, formative and procedural evaluation, to define tasks with deadlines, to be attentive to the retroaction and to take care so that the technology is integrated by the student (HILU, 2006, p.
(19) Jose Angel Garda Landa, Adaptation, Appropriation, Retroaction: Symbolic Interpretation with Henry V', in Aragay, ed.
"Only by an effect of retroaction from the anticipated identifications do we understand that what happens in the mirror stage is the formation of a 'rootstock'.
It is nothing 'other than an exacting series of enquiries into the disjunction, into the Two, which, in the retroaction of the encounter, turns out to have always been one of the laws of the situation' (189).
Cela signifie que Gide met en question deja le modele autonome d'une "retroaction " qu'il venait de concevoir seulement un an avant.13 La question de savoir si le fait de se servir de l'ecriture pour la construction de l'identite signifiait un abandon du lecteur, ou bien si le lecteur pouvait participer "sans risques "etait une des questions soulevees par la theorie de la retroaction.
To achieve successful IPR protection in the firm's internal sphere, frequent reminding and training is necessary: 'We train and educate employees to really understand why the protection of IP is so important and to respect that if IP is given to third parties, it will hurt the company in the first way, but that it also has a retroaction to every single employee'.