Legal Definition and Related Resources of Forthwith

Meaning of Forthwith

where the word forthwith occurs in a statute it has usually been construed as meaning within a reasonable time in view of the circumstances of the case and subject matter. A clause in a fire insurance policy requiring the insured to give notice of loss forthwith means immediately and is stronger than the expression within a reasonable time. The insured is not bound to give the notice during the fire or on the very day of its occurrence, but any delay requires an explanation.

Forthwith Alternative Definition

As soon as, by reasonable exertion, confined to the object, it may be accomplished. This is the import of the term. Style, Pr. Reg. 452, 453. The words “forthwith” and “immediately” have the same meaning. They are stronger than the expression “within a reasonable time,” and imply prompt, vigorous action, without any delay, and whether there has been such action is a question of fact, having regard to the circumstances of the particular case. 4 Q. B. Div. 471; 4 Tyrwh. 837. Where a judge has to do a thing “forthwith” after the happening of something else, the word will have a different meaning according as the act to be done is: (1) Ministerial and demandable ex debito justitiea; or (2) judicial. If the act comes within the first of these classes the word will mean, “forthwith upon the application of the party entitled to have the act done.” 28 L. J. M. C. 196. Where, however, the act to be done is judicial and discretionary, “forthwith” is synonymous with “immediately.” 12 L. J. Q. B. 273; 23 L. J. Ex. 200; 29 L. J. Q. B. 191. In a contract, and the ordinary transactions of life, “forthwith” does not usually niean “immediately,” 34 L. J. C. P. 241; but means “with all reasonable celerity.” 7 M. & G. 494. In a rule of court it has been construed to mean twenty-four hours. 2 Edw. Oh. (N. Y.) 328. But no such construction has been given to the term when used in a statute. “Without delay” is a reasonable meaning in a statute. 39 How. Prac. (N. Y.) 392, affirming 11 Abb. Prac. (N. Y.) 473; 20 How. Prac. (N. Y.) 222.

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Forthwith in Historical Law

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