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Legal Definition and Related Resources of Statute

Meaning of Statute

Written law promulgated by legislative authority .

Statute Alternative Definition

A law established by the act of the legislative power; an act of the legislature; the written will of the legislature, solemnly expressed according to the forms necessary to constitute it the law of the state. This word is used to designate the written law, in contradistinction to the unwritten law. See Common Law. Among the civilians, the term ''statute is generally applied to laws and regulations of every sort. , Every provision of law which ordains, permits, or prohibits anything is designated a statute, without considering from what source it arises. Sometimes the word is used in contradistinction from the imperial Roman law, which, by way of eminence, civilians call the common law. In Old Common Law. A bond or obligation of record. See Statute Merchant; Statute Staple. Classification :
(1) An affirmative statute is one which is enacted in afiirmative terms. Such a statute does not necessarily take away the common law. 2 Inst. 200; Dwarr. St. 474. If, for example, a statute without negative words declares that, when certain requisites shall have been complied with, deeds shall have a certain effect as evidence, this does not prevent their being used in evidence, though the requisites have not been complied with, in the same manner as they might have been before the statute was passed. 2 Caines (N. Y.) 169. Nor does such an affirmative statute repeal a precedent statute if the two can both be given effect. Dwarr. St. 474.
(2) A declaratory statute is one which is passed in order to put an end to a doubt as to what is the common law or the meaning of another statute, and which declares what it is and ever has been.
(3) A negative statute is one expressed in negative terms, and so controls the common law that it has no force in opposition to the statute. Bac. Abr. Statute (G).
(4) Penal statutes are those which command or prohibit a thing under a certain penalty. Espinasse, Pen. Act. 5; Bac. Abr. See, generally, Bac. Abr.; Comyn, Dig. Parliament; Viner, Abr.; Dane, Abr. Index; Chit. Prac; 1 Kent, Comm. 447-459; Barr. Obs. St.; Boscawen, Pen. St; Espinasse, Pen. Act.; Dwarr. St.; Sedgw. Const. Law. A statute affixing a penalty to an act, though it does not in words prohibit it, thereby makes it illegal. 14 Johns. (N. Y.) 273; 1 Bin. (Pa.) 110; 37 Eng. Law & Eq. 475; 14 N. H. 294; 4 Iowa 490; 7 Ind. 77.
(5) Mandatory statutes are such as. imperatively require compliance.
(6) Directory statutes are such as may be violated without invalidating the acts done in violation of it.
(7) Permissive statutes are those which allow something without requiring it.
(8) A perpetual statute is one for the continuance of which there is no limited time, although it be not expressly declared to be so. If a statute which did not itself contain any limitation is to be governed by another which is temporary only, the former will also be temporary and dependent upon the existence of the latter, Bac. Abr. Statute (D).
(9) A temporary statute is one Which is limited In its duration at the time of its enactment. It continues in force until the time of its limitation has expired, unless sooner repealed. A statute which by reason of its nature, has only a single and temporary operation e. g., an appropriation bill is also called a temporary statute. The most ancient English statute extant is Magna Charta. Formerly the statutes enacted after the beginning of the reign of Edw. III. were called Nova Statuta, or new statutes, to distinguish them from the ancient statutes. The modern English statutes are divided into public general acts, local and personal acts declared public, private acts printed, and private acts not printed. In parliamentary practice are adopted other distinctions, resting upon different grounds.
(10) A remedial statute is one made to supply such defects and abridge such superfluities in the common law as may have been discovered. 1 Bl. Comm. 86. These remedial statutes are themselves divided into (a) Enlarging statutes, by which the common law is made more comprehensive and extended than it was before, and into (b) Restraining statutes, by which it is narrowed down to that which is just and proper. The term remedial statute is also applied to those acts which give the party injured a remedy, and in some respects such statutes are penal. Espinasse. Pen. Act. 1.
(11) Public statutes are those which affect the public at large, whether their operation be throughout the state, or in a particular locality. 93 N. C. 600.
(12) Private statutes are such as affect in a peculiar manner certain persons or classes. 43 N. Y. 10. By the civilians, statutes are considered as real, personal, or mixed.
(1) Mixed statutes are those which concern at once both persons and property; but in this sense almost all statutes are mixed, there being scarcely any law relative to persons which does not at the same time relate to things.
(2) Personal statutes are those which have principally for their object the person, and treat 'of property only incidentally. Such are those which regard birth, legitimacy, freedom, the right of instituting suits, majority as to age, incapacity to contract, to make a will, to plead in person, and the like. A personal statute is universal in its operation, and in force everywhere.
(3) Real statutes are those which have principally for their object property, and vfhich do not speak of persons except in relation to property. Story, Confl. Laws, § 13. Such are those which concern the disposition which one may make of his property either alive or by testament. A leal statute, unlike a personal one, is confined in its operation to the country of its origin.

Statute Legal Definition

A law enacted by legislature, as distinguished from case law.

Synonyms of Statute


  • act
  • canon
  • code
  • codified law
  • commandment
  • decree
  • dictate
  • edict
  • enactment
  • ius
  • law
  • legislation
  • legislative enactment
  • lex
  • mandate
  • measure
  • order
  • ordinance
  • provision of the law
  • regulation
  • rubric
  • rule
  • written law

Definition of Statute in the Free Online Notary Dictionary

A Law Established By Legislation.

Find similar definitions of the Statute concept in the Notary Dictionary, to be used to allow for comparison of legal terms meanings.

Related Entries of Statute in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

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Statute in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Statute in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

For more information about Historical Law definitions, see Historical Definitions in the Encyclopedia of Law. For more information about Historical Law Books and Legal Documents, see Legal Encyclopedia of Historical Books and Documents and Legal Encyclopedia of Books and Documents of the 20th Century.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Statute in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary. The Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary entries include explanations of the context of abbreviations or acronyms as well as the direct meaning.

Related Legal Terms

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Mentioned in these terms

Abrogate, Accrual, Accrued Right, Ademption, Administrative Procedure Act, Adverse Possession, Appeal, Apply, Arson, Article, Bargain And Sale, Bestiality, , Cannabis, Child, Children, Clarendon, Constitution Of, Clear Days, Common Employment, Common Law, Compensate, Compensation, , Comstock Act, Construct, Construction, Copyright, Curative, Custom, , Directory, , Easement, Enable, Enactment, Enrolled Bill Rule, Entail, Equity, Equity Of Redemption, Except, Fabricate, Factory, Fair Labor Standards Act, Fellow Servant Rule, Feoffment, , Flotsam, Forfeiture, Forthwith, Illegitimate Children, Incest, Include, Inferior Court, Inherent Power, Judgment Lien, Justice Of The Peace, Kidnap, Lease And Release, Letter, Liability, , Libel, License, Limitation Of Actions, Limited Partnership, Mandatory Provisions, Marksman, , Mechanic's Lien, Memorandum, Mens Rea, Minor Dispute, Mischief, Month, Mortmain, Navigable, Nuncupative Will, Offense, , Overbroad, , , Possessory Title, Preamble, Privacy, Provision, Proviso, Public Funds, Purview, , Real Property, Reasonable Cause, Reasonable Grounds, Regulation, Repeal, Resolution, Writ Of Restitution, Retrospective, Revision, Revival, , Saving Clause, Schedule, , Severance Pay, Shall, Rule In Shelley’s Case, Slander Of Title, Small Business Act, Smith Act, Soil Bank Act, Special Demurrer, Statute Barred, Statute Of Frauds, Statutory Bond, Statutory Offense, Subrogation, , .

Translate Statute of Limitation from English to Spanish

Translation of Statute of Limitation , with examples. More about free online translation into Spanish of Estatuto de limitación and other legal terms is available here.

Translate Statute Law from English to Spanish

Translation of Statute Law , with examples. More about free online translation into Spanish of Derecho escrito and other legal terms is available here.

Translate Statute from English to Spanish

Translation of Statute , with examples. More about free online translation into Spanish of Estatuto and other legal terms is available here.


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Statute in the Dictionary Statute in our legal dictionaries
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Related topics Statute in the World Encyclopedia of Law


This definition of Statute Is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

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Statute in the One-L Dictionary

A law enacted by the legislative branch of a government. Federal statutes are published chronologically in the Statutes at Large and are then codified by subject in the United States Code.

Note: This Statute definition in the One-L Dictionary for new law students is from Harvard Law School (HLS).

Statute in other One-L Dictionary

A law enacted by the legislative branch of government. Federal are published in chronological order in the Statutes at Large and codified by subject in the United States Code, the United States Code Annotated and the United States Code Service. The United States Code is the official codification of statutes of the United States.

Statute from the Washington and Lee University School of Law Dictionary.

English Spanish Translation of Statute

Ley escrita
Legislación gubernamental que sale del Parlamento o Congreso.

Find other English to Spanish translations from the Pocket Spanish English Legal Dictionary (print and online), the English to Spanish to English dictionaries (like Statute) and the Word reference legal translator.

Synonyms and Definition Contents

Cite this entry

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(2013, 07). Statute Retrieved 04, 2014, from
"Statute" 07 2013. 04 2014 <>
"Statute", 07 2013. Web. 04 2014. <>
"Statute" 07, 2013. Accesed 04 2014.
Notary Glossary, 'Statute' ( 2013) <> accesed 2014 April 16


This entry was last modified: July 18, 2013

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