Statute – a legislation (aka act or law) enacted by any lawmaking body, such as a legislature, administrative board, or municipal court

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1. A law passed by a legislative body; specifically, legislation enacted by any lawmaking body, such as a legislature, administrative board, or municipal court.  *  The term act or legislation is interchangeable as a synonym.  For each of the subentries listed below, act or legislation is sometimes substituted for statute. — Abbr. s.; stat. [1]

1. An act of the legislature as an organized body. Washington v Dowling, 92 Fla 601, 109 So 588.  The written will of the legislative department, expressed according to the form necessary to constitute it a law of the United States or of the state, and rendered authentic by certain prescribed forms and solemnities.  In a broader sense, inclusive of an act of the legislature, an administrative regulation, or any enactment, from whatever source originating, to which the state gives the force of law. 50 Am J1st Stat § 2. [2]

1. A law enacted by a legislature; an act. [3]

     Excerpt from Charles Pigott’s A Political Dictionary (1798):

     “Statutes. Acts of parliament. The (ex scripta, or, for the most part, gradual encroachments upon the liberty of the subject. [4]

     Excerpt from William M. Lile et al.’s Brief Making and the Use of Law Books (Roger W. Cooley & Charles Lesley Ames eds., 3d ed. 1914):

     “[W]e are not justified in limiting the statutory law to those rules only which are promulgated by what we commonly call ‘legislatures.’  Any positive enactment to which the state gives the force of a law is a ‘statute,’ whether it has gone through the usual stages of legislative proceedings, or has been adopted in other modes of expressing the will of the people or other sovereign power of the state.  In an absolute monarchy, an edict of the ruling sovereign is statutory law. Constitutions, being direct legislation by the people, must be included in the statutory law, and indeed they are examples of the highest form that the statute law can assume.  Generally speaking, treaties also are statutory law, because in this country, under the provisions of the United States Constitution, treaties have not the force of law until so declared by the representatives of the people. [5]

Related Terms:

statutable adj. (17c) 1. Prescribed or authorized by statute.  2. Conforming to the legislative requirements for quality, size, amount, or the like. 3. (Of an offense) punishable by law.  See STATUTORY.

Various Types of Statutes:

affirmative statute (16c) A law expressed in positive terms to require that something be done; one that directs the doing of an act.  Cf. negative statute.

amending statute (1843) A law that alters the operation of an earlier law, often by inserting or deleting words or provisions of the original text. — aka amending act.

antideliciency statute – See antidejiciency legislation under LEGISLATION ( 3).

blocking statute (1923) A statute prohibiting a party to request, seek, or disclose economic, commercial, industrial, financial, or technical documents or information that might lead to evidence for foreign judicial or administrative proceedings.  *  Blocking statutes are subject to treaties, international agreements, and applicable laws and regulations.  See Socie’té Nationale Industrielle Aérospatiale v. S.D. Iowa, 482 US. 522, 526 n.6, 107 S.Ct. 2542, 2546 n.6 (1987).

codifying statute (1908) A law that purports to be exhaustive in restating the whole of the law on a particular topic, including prior caselaw as well as legislative provisions.  *  Courts generally presume that a codifying statute supersedes prior caselaw.  Cf. consolidating statute.

compiled statutes (1841) Laws that have been arranged by subject but have not been substantively changed; COMPILATION (2).  Cf. revised statutes.

     Excerpt from Frank Hall Childs, Where and How to Find the Law 12 (1922):

     “The term ‘compiled statutes’ is properly applied to a methodical arrangement, without revision or reenactment, of the existing statutes of a State, all the statutes on a given subject being collected in one place. The work is usually performed by private persons; and the former statutes, as they were before the compilation, remain the authority. [6]

consolidating statute (1886) A law that collects the legislative provisions on a particular subject and embodies them in a single statute, often with minor amendments and drafting improvements.  *  Courts generally presume that a consolidating statute leaves prior caselaw intact. — aka consolidating act.  Cf. codifying statute.

     Excerpt from Rupert Cross’s Statutory Interpretation (1976):

     “A distinction of greater importance in this field is that between consolidating and codifying statutes.  A consolidating statute is one which collects the statutory provisions relating to a particular topic, and embodies them in a single Act of Parliament, making only minor amendments and improvements. A codifying statute is one which purports to state exhaustively the whole of the law on a particular subject (the common law as well as previous statutory provisions). . . . The importance of the distinction lies in the courts’ treatment of the previous case law, the existence of special procedural provisions with regard to consolidating statutes and the existence of a presumption that they do not change the law.[7]

construction statute – A legislative directive included in a statute, intended to guide or direct a court’s interpretation of the statute.  *  A construction act can, for example, be a simple statement such as “The word ‘week’ means seven consecutive days” or a broader directive such as “Words and phrases are to be read in context and construed according to the rules of grammar and common usage.  Words and phrases that have acquired a technical or particular meaning, whether by legislative definition or otherwise, are to be construed accordingly.  Cf. INTERPRETATION CLAUSE.

curative statute (1843) 1. An act that corrects an error in a statute’s original enactment, usu. an error that interferes with interpreting or applying the statute.  Cf. validating statute. 2. See remedial statute.— aka curative law.

declaratory statute (17c) A law enacted to clarify prior law by reconciling conflicting judicial decisions or by explaining the meaning of a prior statute. — aka expository statute.

directory statute (1834) A law that indicates only what should be done, with no provision for enforcement. Cf. mandatory statute; permissive statute.

disabling statute (18c) A law that limits or curbs certain rights.

enabling statute (18c) A law that permits what was previously prohibited or that creates new powers; esp., a congressional statute conferring powers on an executive agency to carry out various delegated tasks.

general statute (16c) A law relating to an entire community or all persons generally. — aka public statute.  See PUBLIC LAW (2).

imperfect statute (1847) A law that prohibits, but does not render void, an objectionable transaction. 0 Such a statute provides a penalty for disobedience without depriving the violative transaction of its legal effect.

interpretation statute See INTERPRETATION ACT.

local statute – 1. See LOCAL LAW (1). 2. See LOCAL LAW (2).

mandatory statute (18c) A law that requires a course of action as opposed to merely permitting it.  Cf. directory statute; permissive statute.

negative statute (16c) A law prohibiting something; a law expressed in negative terms.  Cf. affirmative statute.

     Excerpt from Joel Prentiss Bishop’s Commentaries on the Written Laws and their Interpretation (1882):

     “An old division of statutes is into affirmative and negative; the former being such as are in affirmative, the later in negative, words.  A provision, for example, that it shall be lawful for a tenant in fee-simple to make a lease for twenty-one years, or that such lease shall be good, is affirv mative; one that it shall not be lawful to make a lease for above twenty-one years, or that a lease for more shall not be good, is negative.  A negative statute, being in its terms a negation, or denial, of the prior law, repeals it; and obviously this repeal is express. [8]

nonclaim statute. (18c) l. STATUTE 0F LIMITATIONS. 2. A law that sets a time limit for creditors to bring claims against a decedent’s estate. 0 Unlike a statute

of limitations, a nonclaim statute is usu. not subject to tolling and is not waivable. -Also termed (in sense 2) statute of repose.

p organic statute. (1856) A law that establishes an administrative agency or local government. -Also termed organic act. Cf. ORGANIC LAW.

> penal statute. (16c) A statute by which punishments are imposed for transgressions of the law, civil as well as criminal; esp., a statute that defines a crime and prescribes its corresponding fine, penalty, or pun« ishment. -Also termed penal law; punitive statute; criminal statute. See PENAL CODE. [1]

1. A statute which defines and prescribes the punishment for a criminal offense.  A statute which provides a penalty enforceable in a civil actions.  A statute, such as a wrongful death statute, providing for an assessment of damages which reference to the degree of culpability fo the defendant.  22 Am J2d Dth § 5.  A statute which imposes a penalty for transgressing its provisions.  A statute that im[poses a penalty or creates a forfeiture as the punishment for the neglect of some duty, or the commission of some wrong, that concerns the good fo the public, and is commanded or prohibited by the law.  50 Jam J1st Stat § 16. [2]

1. A statute that defines and prescribes the punishment for a criminal offense, i.e., imprisonment, fine, or forfeiture. 

2. A statute that provides a penalty enforceable in a civil action.
     Also see civil penalty.

3. A statute (for EXAMPLE: a wrongful death statute) that provides for punitive damages.
     See penal action.  Also see statute. [3]

      “It is a familiar and well-settled rule that penal statutes are to be construed strictly, and not extended by implications, intendments, analogies, or equitable considerations. Thus, an offense cannot be created or inferred by vague implications. And a court cannot create a penalty by construction, but must avoid it by construction unless it is brought within the letter and the necessary meaning of the act creating it.” Henry Campbell Black, Handbook on the Construction and Interpretation of the Laws 287 (1896).

> permanent statute. See perpetual statute.

> permissive statute. (1833) A statute that allows certain acts but does not command them. 0 A permissive statute creates a license or privilege, or allows discretion in per~ forming an act. Cf. directory statute; mandatory statute.

b perpetual statute. (16c) A law containing no provision for repeal, abrogation, or expiration. -Also termed

permanent statute. Cf. temporary statute (1).

> personal statute. (1813) Civil law. A law that primarily affects a person’s cor‘ihition or status (such as a statute relating to capacity or majority) and affects property only incidentally.

> preceptive statute. (1851) A statute expressing a direct command that is prescriptive, general, definite, and fairly complete. 0 In form, a preceptive’statute is similar to‘ a rule.

> private statute. See special statute.

> prohibitive statute. (1841) A statute that forbids certain acts. 0 An example of a noncriminal prohibitive statute is one forbidding the execution of a mentally retarded criminal because a person who lacks mental capacity cannot understand the reason for the punishment.

r prospective statute. (1831) A law that applies to future events.

> public statute. See PUBLIC LAW (2). > punitive statute. See penal statute.

p quasi-statute. (1848) An executive or administrative order, or a regulation promulgated by a governmental agency, that has the binding effect of legislation.

“Quasi-Statutes. Executive and administrative orders by the government as well as military regulations, while not called statutes, not originating as statutes usually do, are, nevertheless, in force and effect, laws. Copies of general orders and proclamations are issued to the public press for publication, but military regulations may for public reasons be kept private.” Jesse Franklin Brumbaugh, Legal Reason

ing and Brienng 223 (1917).

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real statute. (18c) Civil law. A law primarily affecting the operation, status, and condition of prOperty, and addressing persons only incidentally.

> recording statute. See RECORDING ACT.

r reference statute. ( 1934) A law that incorporates and adopts by reference provisions of other laws.

remedial statute. (18c) 1. Any statute other than a private bill; a law providing a means to enforce rights or redress injuries. 0 William Blackstone defined the term as follows: “Remedial statutes are those which are made to supply such defects, and abridge such superfluities, in the common law, as arise either from the general imperfection of all human laws, from change of time and circumstances, from the mistakes and unadvised determinations of unlearned judges, or from any other cause whatsoever.” 1 William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England 86 (4th ed. 1770). 2. A statute enacted to correct one or more defects, mistakes, or omissions. -Also termed benejicial statute; curative statute; remedial law.

prepealing statute. (17C) A statute that revokes, and sometimes replaces, an earlier statute. o A repealing statute may Work expressly or by implication.

r restraining statute. See disabling statute. y retroactive statute. See RETROACTIVE LAW. r retrospective statute. See RETROACTIVE LAW.

r revised statutes. (18c) Laws that have been collected,

arranged, and reenacted as a whole by a legislative

body. -Abbr. Rev. Stat; R.S. See CODE (1). Cf. compiled statutes. ‘

previval statute. (1899) A law that provides for the renewal of actions, of wills, and of the legal effect of documents. 0 A revival statute cannot resurrect a timebarred criminal prosecution. Stogner v. California, 539

U.S. 607, 123 S.Ct. 2446 (2003). .

, severable statute. (1930) A law that remains operative in its remaining provisions even if a portion of the law is declared untonstitutional.

b single-act statute. See LONG-ARM STATUTE.

r speaking statute. (2000) A statute to be interpreted in light of the understanding of its terms prevailing at the

time of interpretation. –Also termed always-speaki n g statute.

special statute. (17c) A law that applies only to Specific individuals, as opposed to everyone. –Also termed

private statute.

“It is ancient wisdom, tracing back at least as far as the Roman taboo against the privilegium, that laws ought to be general, they ought to be addressed, not to particular persons, but to persons generally or to classes of persons (say, ‘all householders’). Accordingly, a number of American states have inserted in their constitutions prohibitions against ‘private or special’ statutes. These have given rise

to endless difficulties.” Lon L. Fuller, Anatomy of the Law 102-03 (1968).

“Differences of definition threaten unity of understand ing, and in part these exist because of the lack of proper words. For instance, Blackstone defines a ‘general or public act’ as ‘a universal rule that regards the whole country;’ and says that ‘special or private acts are rather exceptions than rules, being those which only operate upon particular persons and private concerns.’ Note that he seems to treat ‘general’ and ‘public’ as synonymous; ‘special’ and ‘private’ as synonymous. Yet in each case usage frequently discriminates. Since his time the tendency in England has been to drop ‘general’ and ‘special’ in the description of laws, with the result that the word ‘private’ is applied to many bills not private at all, in the ordinary acceptance of the word. May showed the inaccuracy of the term when he defined a private bill as one that is for the particular interest or benefit of some person or persons, whether an individual or a number of individuals, a public company or corporation, a parish, city, county, or other locality having not a legal but a popular name only. This was an improvement on Blackstone, yet is open to criticism because it does not reach exceptions to general rules that are distinctly not to the interest or benefit of all the persons concerned, but quite the contrary. . . . With us [in BrE] the confu“ sion of terms has taken a different direction. We have used ‘private’ and ‘special’ indiscriminately, with ‘local’ as a sort of explanatory sub-title. Were it possible to ordain the use of language (which it is not), a benevolent despot might well try to secure that general-speClal (or general-local) be determined by territorial extent; public-private, by subject matter. Lacking acceptance of such a classincation, Americans may go on thinking that their use of ‘special’ is better than the English ‘tprivate’ to cover everything not ‘general;’ and may justi y their tendency to use ‘public’ for laws applying indiscriminately to all members of a community.” Robert Luce, Legislative Problems 532-34 (1971).

split-level statute. (1980) A law that includes officially promulgated explanatory materials in addition to its substantive provisions, so that courts are left with two levels of documents to construe.

> statute of descent and distribution. See STATUTE OF DISTRIBUTION.

> statute of distribution. See STATUTE OF DISTRIBUTION.

> statute of frauds. See STATUTE OF FRAUDS. > statute of limitations. See STATUTE OF,LIMITATIONS. > statute of repose. See STATUTE 0F REPOSE.

> temporary statute. (17c) 1. A law that specifically provides that it is to remain in effect for a fixed, limited period. Cf. perpetual statute. 2. A law (such as an appropriation statute) that, by its nature, has only a single and temporary operation.

p uniform statute. A law drafted in hopes that it will be

widely adopted; UNIFORM LAW. Also termed model statute; uniform act. Cf. MODEL ACT.

> validating statute. (1882) A law whose purpose is either to remove errors from an existing statute or to add pro

visions to conform it to constitutional requirements. –Also termed validation statute. Cf. curative statute. [1]

     Compare bill.  Also compare constitution; judge-made law; ordinance; regulation.
     See criminal statute; declaratory statute; expository statute; penal statute; private statute; public statute; punitive statute; revised statutes. [3]




Disclaimer: All material throughout this website is compiled in accordance with Fair Use.

[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6

[2]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations
Third Edition
 by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Edited by William S. Anderson.  © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY.  Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931

[3]:  Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition
by Jack Ballantine 
(James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.

[4]: Charles Pigott, A Political Dictionary 159 (1798).

[5]: William M. Lile et al., Brief Making and the Use of Law Books 8 (Roger W. Cooley & Charles Lesley Ames eds., 3d ed. 1914).

[6]: Frank Hall Childs, Where and How to Find the Law 12 (1922)

[7]: Rupert Cross, Statutory Interpretation 5 (1976).

[8]: Joel Prentiss Bishop, Commentaries on the Written Laws and their Interpretation 5 153, at 139 (1882).


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