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A violation, by one individual, of another individual's legal rights.

The idea of rights suggests the opposite idea of wrongs, for every right is capable of being violated. For example, a right to receive payment for goods sold implies a wrong on the part of the person who owes, but does not make payment. In the most general point of view, the law is intended to establish and maintain rights, yet in its everyday application, the law must deal with rights and wrongs. The law first fixes the character and definition of rights, and then seeks to secure these rights by defining wrongs and devising the means to prevent these wrongs or provide for their redress.

The Criminal Law is charged with preventing and punishing public wrongs. Public wrongs are violations of public rights and duties that affect the whole community.

A private wrong, also called a civil wrong, is a violation of public or private rights that injures an individual and consequently is subject to civil redress or compensation. A civil wrong that is not based on breach of contract is a tort. Torts include assault, Battery, libel, slander, intentional infliction of mental distress, and damage to property. The same act or omission that makes a tort may also be a breach of contract, but it is the Negligence, not the breaking of the contract, that is the tort. For example, if a lawyer is negligent in representing his client, the lawyer may be sued both for Malpractice, which is a tort, and for breach of the attorney-client contract.

The word wrongful is attached to numerous types of injurious conduct. For example, wrongful death is a type of lawsuit brought on behalf of a deceased person's beneficiaries that alleges that the death was attributable to the willful or negligent conduct of another. However, even in these special contexts, the words wrong, wrongful, and wrongfully do not sharply delineate the exact nature of the wrongness. Their presence merely signifies that something bad has occurred.

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

WRONG. An injury; (q.v.) a tort (q.v.) a violation of right. In its most usual sense, wrong signifies an injury committed to the person or property of another, or to his relative rights, unconnected with contract; and these wrongs are committed with or without force. But in a more extended signification, wrong includes the violation of a contract; a failure by a man to perform his undertaking or promise is a wrong or injury to him to whom it was made. 3 Bl. Com. 158.
     2. Wrongs are divided into public and private. 1. A public wrong is an act which is injurious to the public generally, commonly known by the name of crime, misdemeanor, or offence, and it is punishable in various ways, such as indictments, summary proceedings, and upon conviction by death, imprisonment, fine, &c. 2. Private wrongs, which are injuries to individuals, unaffecting the public: these are redressed by actions for damages, &c.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
might not provide the appropriate incentive when the wrongdoer derives
Courts use punitive damages in part to seek retribution against the wrongdoer. When the defendant's death thwarts retributive aims--that is, when a remedy cannot offer the satisfaction of seeing the despicable wrongdoer saddled with an enormous judgment--there is diminished appetite to impose punitive damages, even though the general deterrence rationale remains strong.
I disagree, but I see her reasons for believing we can cultivate attitudes independently of any information about the wrongdoer. Holmgren outlines a metaethical view that does not persuade, but does render her account consistent and clear, with two fundamental and related premises: (1) a wrongdoer is 'separable' (98) from his wrong acts and (2) the most 'morally salient feature of the offender is his intrinsic worth as a person' (99).
(47) In these exceptional circumstances, the courts have developed rules which provide one wrongdoer with a right to be indemnified by the other wrongdoers ('trustee indemnity rules').
Imagine a person who argues that a victim of his wrong should no longer bear ill-will toward him because he has been "born again." Imagine further that there is behavioral evidence backing this claim--that since committing the wrong, the wrongdoer has chosen selflessly to devote himself to a life of good works.
The wrongdoer has caused an imbalance in the natural order of things, and it is the obligation of the judge to restore the natural balance by inflicting an appropriate punishment on the wrongdoer; according to Aristotle, "What the judge does is to restore equality" (NE 1132a 17).
AAJ will continue to work with both sides of the aisle, as it always has, to advocate for the ability to hold a wrongdoer accountable, even when taking on the most powerful interests.
Forgiveness involves the victimized person's discernment that there are legitimate reasons to believe that the wrongdoer accepts responsibility for the injustice and hurt he or she caused and promises to refrain from further injustice.
The second way to think about mercy is as the benevolent enforcement of "less than the deserved punishment."(15) This is more likely what we mean by mercy, and it is a notion not addressed here.(16) This Comment does not argue for giving a wrongdoer anything except what he deserves.
"All the wrongdoers will be punished, and we will make sure not to put any file aside or cover up for any person," the Minister affirmed.
They demanded an audit into expanses of the chamber, voters list, and income from awards so that the wrongdoers could be punished and a free and fair election could be ensured.