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Sunday, June 27, 2010

A few more funny legal terms

The law has always been part of society's means of controlling its own members and codifying which behaviours are expected and which are not. The following are a few examples of laws that were made to clarify the rules about social behaviour:

1. Jactitation - the crime of false boasting or bragging to someone else's detriment. This is no longer against the law, as anyone who watches reality television can attest.

2. Barratry - the crime of frequently causing quarrels and/or law suits. Again, this is no longer a crime. We do still have a general rule about "frivolous and vexatious" lawsuits which often results in the loser of a malicious or ridiculous lawsuit paying costs to the other party.

3. Cucking stool - a woman who was considered a nag or scold was publicly placed on a stool which was dunked into the local river. Of course this is no longer acceptable.

4. Legenita - I suppose that if there is a specific law to control women's behaviour, there is bound to be one applying to male behaviour. Legenita was a fine that was levied against a man who had "criminal conversation" with a woman. "Criminal conversation" is a euphemism for extra-marital sex.

5. Corium forisfacere - another obsolete (fortunately) term that refers to punishing servants who misbehave by whipping them. The term is latin, and translates as "to forfeit one's skin".

1 comment:

  1. Greetings:

    This looks to be a interesting and user friendly web site. Off and on, I've been searching for the meaning of a legal term used by our lawyer in a recent e-mail. It is: "accidental encroachment of capital", referring to an inadvertent action by a Trustee/Executor when he or she uses capital in an estate without knowing that it is an encroachment of capital.

    In this case, the Trustee has "absolute discretion" and "uncontrolled discretion" to use the capital if she deems it of benefit to the inheritor. The surviving spouse was receiving monthly income from her deceased husband's testamentary trust. On the advice of the family's longtime accountants who had done the tax returns of both spouses, the decision was that the estate would pay the taxes on the income the estate was paying monthly. This is perceived as an encroachment of capital, which the Trustee has unqualified legal power to do.

    However, our lawyer apparently believes this legal power may be limited if the Trustee didn't know she was making an encroachment; i.e., an accidental encroachment.

    I've searched for a couple of hours at least and have discovered no reference to this legal term.

    Could someone offer an insight, even direction to a potential web site[s]?

    Thank you.


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