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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 ?
He has denied any wrongdoing and accuses Nissan executives opposed to his plans to further integrate the firm with France's Renault of plotting against him.
According to a report by the Irish Independent, the central bank has told an Oireachtas committee that it wants legislation to stop bankers trying to hide their wrongdoing. The apex bank also said that it wants to hold bankers individually responsible for scandals.
* the admissibility of hearsay, including the hearsay the admission of which is being sought, in determining the applicability of forfeiture by wrongdoing;
Will the auditors who detected the irregularities, refund the rewards, since no wrongdoing has been found by the FIA?
But yesterday, North Wales Police confirmed there was no evidence of any wrongdoing and they would no longer be reviewing the matter.
He added: "There is a police investigation, they are investigating wrongdoing.
"The club was unaware of such matters nor was it involved in any wrongdoing. The club will continue to fully investigate the issues at hand and will co-operate with the regulatory authorities as necessary." Queens Park Rangers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino were also shown in new video footage.
Given that with the SEC whistleblower program, the "probability of detection is dramatically higher than it has ever been before," Thomas recommends organizations "strengthen their internal reporting systems and self-report potential wrongdoing before their employees notify the authorities."
As Yates put it, the memo was part of an effort to earn the public's confidence by "relentlessly pursuing wrongdoing, no matter who those wrongdoers may be."
A party spokeswoman stressed the investigation into Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill MP Boswell did not imply any wrongdoing.
We hold him responsible for his intoxicated wrongdoing by tracing back to his responsibility for becoming intoxicated.
The company admits no wrongdoing as part of the settlement and it is neither an admission of liability or wrongdoing by the firm, nor a concession by the United States that its claims are not well founded.