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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.

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


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

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

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.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
In my opinion, a solution to this issue should be searched on the plane of unlawfulness. A circumstance excluding unlawfulness may be the legal ground for the exclusion of criminal responsibility.
Cases of theft, corruption, bribery, plunder, lies, slander and unlawfulness are skyrocketing.
As I said in my article, [1] all four elements for murder (the element referring to a human being is not usually in dispute) have to be satisfied--if the unlawfulness element is missing, there is no crime.
At the meeting the protesters were pointed to unlawfulness of their actions.
The judgement, which was given by a chamber of seven judges, noted that "Tymoshenko's pre-trial detention had been arbitrary; that the unlawfulness of her detention had not been properly reviewed; and that she had no possibility to seek compensation for her unlawful deprivation of liberty".
'Having a high rate of bribery introduces inefficiencies, unfairness, discrimination and unlawfulness in a critical component of the state's responsibility of providing services and care for its population,' the report said.
Coverage encompasses the methodological debate (the extensive versus the restrictive approach); defining "use of force" and "threat of force"; whether the prohibition of the use of force and self-defense apply to non-state actors; circumstances precluding unlawfulness and justification of the use of force; intervention; and self-defense.
The alternative to delaying the elections is the spread of further unlawfulness and wider corruption, and ultimately, the continued waste of Libya's resources partly by inefficient management and also by criminal activity taking advantage of the present lawlessness.
Opposing a stay order, he said, this Court was already seized of the case and under international laws, only domestic court was well positioned to rule over illegality and unlawfulness of any agreement.
"The panel is satisfied that the unlawfulness and dishonesty inherent in the theft conviction coupled with her resulting possession of a controlled drug are serious departures from the standards expected of a registered nurse."
At a press conference on the sidelines of the forum, Dr Al Khaili noted the unlawfulness of this practice.