We usually hear two words from an acquaintance today: Legal! In my view this word has lost its value and it is now only a by-word used by attorneys. What does one mean when he says, “I need a lawyer”? Below I have listed some of the most popular usages of the word legal in our day.

Term Definition: Legal. In the dictionary, the word legal means: ruling authority. The definition of this word is also found in the dictionary. 1st Folio (error Thomas Jefferson), p. iv: “legality, right of indemnity, law; authority, the right of trial, manifest, foundation, right of citizenship, of naturalization, &c.” These words clearly describe the meaning of legal in our day.

Adjective Definition: Legal. To be legal, one must be a lawyer or a judge. In our day, when you are dealing with issues of personal integrity, security, property rights, international relations, child support obligations, tax matters, marriage records, insurance, business contracts, the meaning of legal is very crystal clear. So let us review the four legal uses of the word legal.

Obligation. The primary use of legal is to denote obligation, duty, respect, compliance or respect. This word indicates something that is required of someone. It is an obligation to obey the law, respect the authority, act in a timely manner, behave properly etc. A person who respects the law and acts accordingly has a sound obligation.

Duty. The word duty in legal is used to denote obedience or engagement. The word also suggests something that is required of one. If we want to ensure that the law is well-followed then it makes sense to have a sense of duty. It’s like driving your car, you have a legal obligation to drive carefully, if you don’t, you’re liable to get fined or make other sort of consequences.

Theory. Legal uses of theory follow from a pure theoretical view of law. A theory is a well-established legal concept, but in a particular situation, it doesn’t follow that all theoretical principles are also applicable in every situation. In other words, the rule of thumb in theory is to base your actions on principles that are universally understood by the people you deal with. The legal definition of theory will tell you what you can legally do; it doesn’t say what you can legally do.

Adjacent Field. Legal language uses the word adjacency when it means that the subject of an action is connected with a different area of the law. In the definition of negligence, the act done by the person against whom negligence is claimed, can be considered as being connected with another area of the law (like medical malpractice). Similarly, one cannot use the word parallel in the definition of the word innocent because the two are not the same thing.

Summary. The 4 legal definition points out that if a person does something, it can be used as the basis for another claim. The explanation of the meaning of the word negligence makes it clear that the promise of care is a promise subject to fulfillment. However, if the promise of care is not a complete one, then it can be considered as a promise of another form.

By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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