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Contrary to or unauthorized by law; illegal.

When applied to promises, agreements, or contracts, the term denotes that such agreements have no legal effect. The law disapproves of such conduct because it is immoral or contrary to public policy. Unlawful does not necessarily imply criminality, although the term is sufficiently broad to include it.


adj. referring to any action which is in violation of a statute, federal or state constitution, or established legal precedents (against the law).


adjective actionable, against the law, criminal, forbidden, illegal, illegitimate, illicit, lawless, non legitimus, not allowed by law, outlawed, prohibited, transgressive, unallowed, unauthorized, unlicensed, unsanctioned, unwarranted, vetitus, wrongful, wrongous
Associated concepts: unlawful accumulation, unlawful act, unlawful assembly, unlawful combination, unlawful connract, unlawful detainer, unlawful detention, unlawful ennichment, unlawful entrapment, unlawful entry, unlawful flight, unlawful force, unlawful picketing
Foreign phrases: Ex pacto illicito non oritur actio.From an unlawful agreement, no action will lie.
See also: broken, delinquent, felonious, illegal, illegitimate, illicit, immoral, impermissible, unauthorized, unscrupulous, unwarranted, wrongful

UNLAWFUL. That which is contrary to law.
     2. There are two kinds of contracts which are unlawful; those which are void, and those which are not. When the law expressly prohibits the transaction in respect of which the agreement is entered into and declares it to be void, it is absolutely so. 3 Binn. R. 533. But when it is merely prohibited, without being made void, although unlawful, it is not void. 12 Serg. & Rawle, 237; Chitty, Contr. 230; 23 Amer. Jur. 1 to 23; 1 Mod. 35; 8 East, R. 236, 237; 3 Taunt. R. 244; Hob. 14. Vide Condition; Void.

References in periodicals archive ?
c) Unlawful appropriation or expenditure of public money or property
MIRPUR (AJK) -- Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) government has launched an extensive campaign to discourage the trend of smuggling of the forest wood and unlawful cutting of the forests in the region, official sources said.
The Union has filed numerous Unfair Labor Practice charges against Kapstone in response to this unlawful activity.
MIRPUR -- Authorities launched an extensive drive to deport the unlawful foreigners across AJK while hundreds of illegal immigrants voluntarily moved from various parts of the state including Mirpur division.
The fact of unlawful issuance of a passport of the Kyrgyz Republic to a foreign national with criminal records was disclosed, the Interior Ministry of Kyrgyzstan said.
Look at some of the decisions of the Labour controlled council, and then try to imagine why Caerphilly cuts so deep: Caerphilly Labour councillors gave themselves an extra PS100,000 in allowances, made up of an additional deputy leader, three additional chairs of scrutiny, eight additional paid deputy chairs of scrutiny; Caerphilly Labour group implemented the living wage in 2013, 3,000 people lifted from the minimum wage to the living wage, cost to ratepayers PS5,000,000; Caerphilly Labour councillors gave the infamous and unlawful pay awards to senior managers, they also gave additional unlawful car allowances and unlawful extra holiday payments.
A COUNCIL that has been in crisis for more than a year over unlawful payments made to senior of-ficers could be in trouble again for other spending that was not properly authorised.
New Delhi, Aug 3 ( ANI ): The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) declaration of SIMI as an unlawful association has been approved by the tribunal set up to examine the issue.
One person has been arrested and three others are facing charges following a months-long investigation by the Lane County Interagency Narcotics Team into allegations of unlawful manufacture and delivery of marijuana.
was charged with failure to appear in court; driving without a license; failure to yield; unlawful possession of a firearm; unlawful possession of a large-capacity rifle; unlawful possession of a large-capacity (ammunition) feeding device; unlawful possession of ammunition; and possession of cocaine.
Mr Justice Collins, sitting in London, ruled that although the hair policy was not unlawful in itself, "if it is applied without any possibility of exception, such as G, then it is unlawful".
Thomas Hughes, 40, of Tuam, Co Galway, was charged with the unlawful possession of an explosive substance.