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Word Study from
Bouvier's 1856 Law Dictionary


LAWFUL. That which is not forbidden by law. Id omne licitum est, quod non est legibus prohibitum, quamobrem, quod, lege permittente, fit, poenam non meretur. To be valid a contract must be lawful.


    Contractus ex turpi caus, vel contr bonos mores nullus est. A contract founded on a base and unlawful consideration, or against good morals, is null. Hob. 167; Dig. 2, 14, 27, 4.

    Duas uxores eodem tempore habere non potest. It is not lawful to have two wives at one time. Inst. 1, 10, 6.

    Haeres legitimus est quem nuptiae demonstrant. He is the lawful heir whom the marriage demonstrates.

    Legitime imperanti parere necesse est. One who commands lawfully must be obeyed. Jenk. Cent. 120.

    Mandata licita recipiunt strictam interpretationem, sed illicita latam et extensam. Lawful commands receive a strict interpretation, but unlawful, a wode or broad construction. Bacon's Max. Reg. 16.

    Necessitas facit licitum quod alias non est licitum. Necessity makes that lawful which otherwise is unlawful. 10 Co. 61.

    Nihil quod est contra rationem est licitum. Nothing against reason is lawful. Co. Litt. 97.

    Nihil quod inconveniens est licitum est. Nothing inconvenient is lawful.

    Qui nascitur sine legitimo matrimonio, matrem sequitur. He who is born out of lawful matrimony, follows the condition of the mother.

    Quod est necessarium est licitum. What is necessary is lawful.

    Quod pro minore licitum est, et pro majore licitum est. What is lawful in the less, is lawful in the greater. 8 Co. 43.

(Isaiah 33:22) For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us.

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