Public Policy

Legal Definition and Related Resources of Public Policy

Meaning of Public Policy

The phrase is one of wide import covering all principles under which the freedom of contract or private dealings is restricted by law for the good of the community . The principle which declares that no one can lawfully do that which has a tendency to be injurious to public welfare. People v Monroe, 349 III 270, 182 N.E. 439. However, what is public policy of one generation, may not be the public policy of another. Funk v United States , 290 U.S. 371, 54 S.Ct. 212, 78 L.Ed. 369.

Public Policy Alternative Definition

The criterion by which the courts condemn contracts as opposed to the public will, or as tending to subvert the public welfare. Thus, public policy invalidates contracts tending to immorality, as for the rental of a brothel (27 Mo. App. 649), or in consideration of future illicit cohabitation (58 Ala. 303; 57 Hun [N. Y.] 292); contracts facilitating divorce (89 111. 349; 25 Minn. 72) ; contracts in unreasonable restraint of trade (49 N. J. Eq. 217) ; combinations to restrict competition (90 Cal. 110; 68 N. Y. 568) ; contracts to unfairly influence an appointment or election to public ofiice (8 Kan. 601; 23 Mo. App. 555) ; to unlawfully influence legislation (88 Mass. 152) ; to limit the jurisdiction of courts, as by agreeing not to sue in a particular court (94 U. S. 535) ; to compound a criminal offense (83 111. 418) ; to restrict competition at a public sale, as by agreeing not to bjid thereat (47 Ga. 479). And the agreement need only tend to illegality. Thus, an agreement for witness’ fees contingent on the success of the party for whom the witness is to testify (10 Ala. 206), or for a fee to a private prosecutor contingent on a conviction (62 Ky. 207), or by an attorney to defend against offenses to be committed in the future (41 Kan. 364), are void as against public policy.

Related Entries of Public Policy in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Public Policy 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.

Public Policy in Historical Law

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

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

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

Related Legal Terms

You might be also interested in these legal terms:

Mentioned in these terms

Covenant, Police Power, Presumption, Restraint Of Marriage, Separation Agreement.


You might be interested in these references tools:

Resource Description
Public Policy in the Dictionary Public Policy in our legal dictionaries
Browse the Legal Thesaurus Find synonyms and related words of Public Policy
Legal Maxims Maxims are established principles that jurists use as interpretive tools, invoked more frequently in international law
Legal Answers (Q&A) A community-driven knowledge creation process, of enduring value to a broad audience
Related topics Public Policy in the World Encyclopedia of Law


This definition of Public Policy is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

Vocabularies (Semantic Web Information)


Resource Description
Topic Map A group of names, occurrences and associations
Topic Tree A topic display format, showing the hierarchy
Sitemap Index Sitemap Index, including Taxonomies The URI of Public Policy (more about URIs)


See Also

  • Law Dictionaries.
  • Government; Policy sciences; Public administration. Specific areas of policy making are discussed inFiscal policy; Foreign policy; Military policy; Monetary policy; National security; Planning, economic; Planning, social; Welfare state. Other relevant material may be found inDecision making; Political process

    Decision-making; Government; Nation-State; Nondecision-making; Political Science; Politics; Public Administration; Public Choice Theory; Public Goods; Public Interest; Public Sector; Public Sphere; Regulation; Research, Trans-disciplinary; Social Science; State, The; University, The; Values; Welfare Economics

  • Further Reading

    Bauer, Raymond A.; Pool, Ithiel de Sola; and Dexter, Lewis A. 1963 American Business and Public Policy. New York: Atherton.

    Berelson, Bernard; Lazarsfeld, Paul F.; and Mcphee, William N. 1954 Voting: A Study of Opinion Formation in a Presidential Campaign. Univ. of Chicago Press.

    Braybrooke, David; and Lindblom, Charles E. 1963 A Strategy of Decision: Policy Evaluation as a Social Process. New York: Free Press.

    Brodie, Bernard 1959 Strategy in the Missile Age. Princeton Univ. Press.

    Dahl, Robert A. (1961) 1963 Who Governs? Democracy and Power in an American City. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press.

    Edelman, Jacob M. 1964 The Symbolic Uses of Politics. Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press.

    Froman, Lewis A. Jr. 1967 An Analysis of Public Policies in Cities. Journal of Politics 29:94-108.

    Hitch, Charles J.; and Mckean, R. N. 1960 The Economics of Defense in the Nuclear Age. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press.

    Huntington, Samuel P. 1961 The Common Defense: Strategic Programs in National Politics. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

    Kahn, Herman (1960) 1961 On Thermonuclear War. 2d ed. Princeton Univ. Press.

    Lipset, Seymour M. 1960 Political Man: The Social Bases of Politics. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday. _ A paperback edition was published in 1963.

    Lowi, Theodore J. 1964 American Business, Public Policy, Case-studies, and Political Theory. World Politics 16:677-715.

    Munger, Frank J.; and Fenno, Richard F. Jr. 1962 National Politics and Federal Aid to Education. The Economics and Politics of Public Education, No. 3. Syracuse Univ. Press.

    Olson, Mancur Jr. 1965 The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press.

    Schelling, Thomas C. 1960 The Strategy of Conflict. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press.

    Wildavsky, Aaron 1962 Dixon-Yates: A Study in Power Politics. Yale Studies in Political Science, Vol. 3. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press.

    More Further Reading

    Birkland, Thomas A. 2005. An Introduction to the Policy Process: Theories, Concepts, And Models of Public Policy Making, 2nd ed. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe.

    Dunn, William N. 2003. Public Policy Analysis: An Introduction, 3rd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

    McCool, Daniel C., ed. 1995. Public Policy Theories, Models, and Concepts: An Anthology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

    Moon, Marilyn. 2006. Medicare: A Policy Primer. Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press.

    Moran, Michael, Martin Rein, and Robert E. Goodin. 2006. The Oxford Handbook of Public Policy. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Douglas Gomery

    Public policy in Law Enforcement

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


    See Also

    • Law Enforcement Officer
    • Police
    • Law Enforcement Agency

    Further Reading

    Hierarchical Display of Public policy

    Politics > Executive power and public service > Public administration
    Politics > Executive power and public service > Executive body > Executive competence > Government policy

    Meaning of Public policy

    Overview and more information about Public policy

    For a more comprehensive understanding of Public policy, see in the general part of the online platform.[rtbs name=”xxx-xxx”]


    Translation of Public policy

    Thesaurus of Public policy

    Politics > Executive power and public service > Public administration > Public policy
    Politics > Executive power and public service > Executive body > Executive competence > Government policy > Public policy

    See also


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