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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 ?
"When you reach the top of the mountain, I suggest you take a deep breath of fresh air and remember the thousands of innocent victims who are wrongfully murdered every day by people who later claim they were wrongfully convicted."
It was claimed by Mr McBrearty Jnr that he was wrongfully arrested at 9.15am on December 4, 1996 while taking his children to school.
The court held that the Fourth Amendment rights of the homeless persons who were allegedly wrongfully detained were further violated when jailers ordered them to perform manual labor or risk continued confinement, before they were charged with or found guilty of the commission of a crime.
The teams - Renault, McLaren, Williams, Toyota, Sauber, Red Bull and BAR - were found guilty of failing to arrive at Indianapolis with proper tyres and wrongfully refusing to allow their cars to race after Michelin issued a safety warning
A MOTHER wrongfully jailed for murdering her two babies will not get a penny of compensation.
He revealed the BBC bid just under pounds 20,000 to secure an interview with Angela Cannings, the mother freed after she was wrongfully jailed for murdering her babies.
The airline - which flies 150,000 unsupervised children out of London, UK every year - claims that the move also protects male passengers from being wrongfully accused.
A jury yesterday cleared singer James Brown of allegations that he sexually harassed and wrongfully fired a female employee.
Mental ailments don't discriminate by creed, race, or gender; however, societies tend to wrongfully discriminate against those suffering from such disorders.
In other cases, however, the bills wrongfully indicate interest due if either a Senior Citizens Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) or a J-51 abatement was involved.
In the fight over the release of Opening Arguments, Walsh alleged that the book wrongfully leaked secret grand jury testimony and classified government information.