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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 ?
Edna Llewellyn 68 04/05/93 At home Unlawful killing
Today, the Department of Transport and Public Works began the process of notifying each of the occupants of the Helen Bowden Nurses Home site - part of the Somerset Precint and close to the V&A Waterfront - that we wish to engage with them in order to bring to an end their current unlawful occupation of the site.
Such alleged police actions constitute unlawful killings which are prevalent and take the shape of fake police encounters in Punjab and Sindh.
V Agishi, held that the prosecution had successfully proved a case of having unlawful carnal knowledge and procurement for unlawful carnal knowledge preferred against the two accused persons.
The AJK authorities planned to launch the extensive drive to discourage the unlawful hunting and other illicit practices under the spirit to save the precious wild life, he said.
In Serowe, a 26-year-old man of Bokhurutshe ward and another aged 29 years of Sebina ward were arrested in two separate incidents at Serowe Main Mall for unlawful possession of a substance suspected to be dagga during a stop, question and search operation.
A: Forcible entry and unlawful detainer are two distinct causes of action defined in Section 1, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court.
Summary: Defendant mortgaged at his store gold items of borrowers against loans for unlawful interests
Michael Wayne Girard, 47, and his wife, Patricia Louise Girard, 37, were arrested Wednesday on identical charges of first-degree sexual abuse, second- degree sexual abuse, encouraging child sexual abuse in the second degree, first-degree unlawful sexual penetration, unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, Adderall, to a minor, unlawful delivery of oxycodone to a minor and unlawful delivery of another drug, Valium.
Islamabad -- Chairman of Ad hoc Committee of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) Mohammad Riaz has strongly condemned the retrenchment of 31 journalists from the city desks of daily Express Tribune and termed it unlawful, illegal and an inhuman action on the part of newspaper management.
Escudero wants candidates to be answerable for unlawful acts or omissions before the start of the campaign period to level the playing field in the country's electoral process.
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.