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Legal Definition and Related Resources of Bar

Meaning of Bar

In the ordinary court , the bar is a more or less imaginary barrier separating the bench and the front row of counsel ‘s seats from the rest of the court. In procedure a barrier to the relitigating of an issue , where causes of action are the same, final judgment on the merits in the first action is a complete bar to the second action. The term also means the whole professional body of lawyers.

Bar Alternative Definition

(1) A particular part of the court room. As thus applied, and secondarily in various ways, it takes its name from the actual bar, or inclosing rail, which originally divided the bench from the rest of the room, as well as from that bar, or’ rail, which then divided, and now divides, the space Including the bench, and the place which lawyers occupy in attending on and conducting trials, from the body of the court room. Those who, as advocates or counsellors, appeared as speakers in court, were said to be called to the bar,’ that is, called to appear in presence of the court, as barristers, or persons who stay or attend at the bar of court. Rich. Diet. Barrister. By a natural transition, a secondary use of the word was applied to the persons who were so called, and the advocates were, as a class, called the bar. And in this country, since attorneys, as well as counsellors, appear in court to conduct causes, the members of the legal profession, generally, are, called the bar.
(2) The court, in its strictest sense, sitting in full term, i TJius, a civil case of great consequence was not left to be tried at nisi prius, but was tried at the bar of the court itself, at Westminster. 3 BL Comm. 352. So a criminal trial for a capital offense was had at bar (4 Bl. Comm. 351), and in this sense the term at bar is still used. It is also used in this sense, with a shade of difference (as not distinguishing nisi prius from full term, but as applied to any term of the court), when a person indicted for crime is called the prisoner at the bar, or is said to stand at the bar to plead to the indictment. See Merlin, Repert. Barreau; 1 Dupin, Prof. d’Av. 451.
(3) An obstacle or opposition. Thus, relationship within the prohibited degrees, or the fact that a person is already married, is a bar to marriage.
(4) A perpetual destruction of the action of the plaintiff. 1 Ore. 47.
(5) Bar in the old books is sometimes used for plea in bar. Co. Litt. 303b.

Financial Definition of Bar

Slang for one million dollars.

Synonyms of Bar

(Body of lawyers), noun

  • advocates
  • attorneys
  • attorneysatlaw
  • barristers
  • counsel
  • counselors
  • counselorsatlaw
  • jurists
  • lawyers
  • the legal fraternity
  • legal profession
  • legists
  • solicitors
  • Associated Concepts: bar association
  • member of the bar

(Court), noun

  • assize
  • bench
  • court ofjustice
  • court of law
  • curia
  • forum
  • judicature
  • judiciary
  • seat ofjustice
  • sessions
  • tribunal
  • Associated Concepts: bar ofjustice

(Exclude), verb

  • ban
  • blacklist
  • circumscribe
  • debar
  • deny
  • disallow
  • except
  • exile
  • forbid
  • interdict
  • keep out
  • leave out
  • limit
  • lock out
  • occlude
  • omit
  • ostracize
  • outlaw
  • preclude
  • prevent
  • prohibit
  • refuse
  • reject
  • relegate
  • restrict
  • shut out
  • spurn
  • suspend

(Hinder), verb

  • avert
  • barricade
  • block
  • blockade
  • bolt
  • bridle
  • choke
  • choke off
  • curb
  • embar
  • enjoin
  • erect a barrier
  • estop
  • fasten
  • fence
  • forbid
  • foreclose
  • frustrate
  • hamper
  • impede
  • inhibit
  • interfere with
  • obstruct
  • obviate
  • occlude
  • preclude
  • prevent
  • prohibit
  • proscribe
  • put an embargo on
  • put one’s veto upon
  • repress
  • restrain
  • retard
  • seal
  • secure
  • shut off
  • stand in the way
  • stay
  • stop
  • thwart
  • trammel

(Obstruction), noun

  • balk
  • ban
  • barricade
  • barrier
  • block
  • blockage
  • circumscription
  • constraint
  • curb
  • difficulty
  • embargo
  • enjoining
  • estoppel
  • exclusion
  • forbiddance
  • foreclosure
  • forestalling
  • hindrance
  • hurdle
  • impediment
  • impedi tion
  • infarction
  • injunction
  • interdict
  • interference
  • limit
  • limitation
  • nonadmission
  • noninclusion
  • obstacle
  • preclusion
  • prevention
  • prohibition
  • proscription
  • refusal
  • rejection
  • restraint
  • stoppage
  • stopper
  • stumbling block
  • suppression
  • Associated Concepts: bar by former judgment
  • estoppel

Related Entries of Bar in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Bar in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Bar in Historical Law

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

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Bar in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

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Translate Bar from English to Spanish

Translation of Bar, with examples. More about free online translation into Spanish of Asociación o colegio de abogados and other legal terms is available here.

Translate Side Bar from English to Spanish

Translation of Side Bar, with examples. More about free online translation into Spanish of Consulta o junta al lado del juez and other legal terms is available here.

What does Bar mean in American Law?

The definition of Bar in the law of the United States, as defined by the lexicographer Arthur Leff in his legal dictionary is:

In legal contests, there are two important uses of the term. First, bar may refer to a barrier (which may be real or imaginary) between the public areas of a courtroom and the space available only to the professional initiates, i.e., lawyers and judges. It delineates, within the “sacred” space of the courtroom, the area reserved to the “priests.” Hence it has come by extension to refer to the court itself (as in “the case at bar”) and to the special right to take part in the processes held there, as in “admission to the bar,” i.e., certification as a lawyer. And that usage, by further extension, has made “bar” unable to refer to the whole profession in a jurisdiction, as in “The bar is steadfastly opposed to prepaid legal service plans.” Also, however, the central pictorial meaning of bar as barrier has been used in law to describe the blockage or destruction of a right as in, e.g., a plea in bar which, if accepted, defeats the plaintiff’s claim, or in “bar the entail,” i.e., a legal proceeding the effect [of] which is to destroy the right of person to whom the land was entailed.


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Related topics Bar in the World Encyclopedia of Law


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

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Bar in the Dictionary of Law consisting of Judicial Definitions and Explanations of Words, Phrases and Maxims

A particular portion of a court room. Named from the space inclosed by two bars or rails: one of which separated the judge’s bench from the rest of the room; the other shut off both the bench and the area for lawyers engaged in trials from the space allotted to suitors, witnesses, and others. Such persons as appeared as speakers (advocates, or counsel) before the court, were said to be “called to the bar”, that is, privileged so to appear, speak and otherwise serve in the presence of the judges as “barristers”. The corresponding phrase in the United States is “admitted to the bar”.

Note: This legal definition of Bar in the Dictionary of Law (English and American Jurisprudence) is from 1893.

English Spanish Translation of BAR

El Colegio de Abogados, la profesión

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

Bar in Law Enforcement

Main Entry: Law Enforcement in the Legal Dictionary. This section provides, in the context of Law Enforcement, a partial definition of bar.

Etimology of Bar

(You may find bar at the world legal encyclopedia and the etimology of more terms).

whole body of lawyers, the legal profession, 1550s, a sense which derives ultimately from the railing that separated benchers from the hall in the Inns of Court (see bar (n.1)). Students who had attained a certain standing were “called” to it to take part in the important exercises of the house. After c. 1600, however, this was popularly assumed to mean the bar in a courtroom, the wooden railing marking off the area around the judge’s seat, where prisoners stood for arraignment and where a barrister (q.v.) stood to plead. As the place where the business of court was done, bar in this sense had become synonymous with court by early 14c.


See Also

  • Law Enforcement Officer
  • Police Officer
  • Law Enforcement Agency

Further Reading

English Legal System: Bar

In the context of the English law, A Dictionary of Law provides the following legal concept of Bar :

*barristers, collectively. To be called to the Bar is to be admitted to the profession by one of the Inns of Court.

English Legal System: Bar

In the context of the English law, A Dictionary of Law provides the following legal concept of Bar :

1. A legal impediment.

2. An imaginary barrier in a court of law. Only Queen’s Counsel, officers of the court, and litigants in person are allowed between the bar and the *bench when the court is in session

3. A rail near the entrance to each House of Parliament beyond which nonmembers may not pass but to which they may be summoned (e.g. for reprimand).

Meaning of Bar in the U.S. Legal System

Definition of Bar published by the National Association for Court Management, with alternative senses: 1. Historically, the partition separating the general public from the space occupied by the judges, lawyers, and other participants in a trial. 2. More commonly, the term means the whole body of lawyers.


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