legal fiction

      a rule assuming as true something that is clearly false. A fiction is often used to get around the provisions of constitutions and legal codes that legislators are hesitant to change or to encumber with specific limitations. Thus, when a legislature has no legal power to sit beyond a certain midnight but has five hours more of work still to do, it is easier to turn back the official clock from time to time than it is to change the law or constitution.

      In ancient Rome, where every family needed a male heir, the lack of one was overcome through the legal fiction of adoption. In England, when courts handling civil cases were full, the Court of Queen's (or King's) Bench, a criminal court, could take some of the load by pretending that the defendant in a simple civil suit had been arrested and was in custody.

      Almost any legal fiction can be stated in terms of fact. Thus, the fiction that a corporation is, for many purposes, a person separate from its members is equivalent to saying that, for those purposes, the law deals with the group as a unit, disregarding for the moment the group's individual members as such.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • legal fiction — legal fic·tion n: something asssumed in law to be fact irrespective of the truth or accuracy of that assumption the legal fiction that a day has no fractions Fields v. Fairbanks North Star Borough, 818 P.2d 658 (1991) Merriam Webster’s Dictionary …   Law dictionary

  • Legal fiction — In the common law tradition, legal fictions are suppositions of fact taken to be true by the courts of law, but which are not necessarily true. They typically are used to evade archaic rules of procedure or to extend the jurisdiction of the… …   Wikipedia

  • legal fiction — /ligəl ˈfɪkʃən/ (say leeguhl fikshuhn) noun See fiction (def. 4) …   Australian English dictionary

  • legal fiction — See fiction …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • legal fiction — noun : fiction 4 …   Useful english dictionary

  • legal fiction — noun An assumption, not necessarily true, made by a court in order to apply a legal rule …   Wiktionary

  • legal fiction — presumption that concerns proof of legal grounds …   English contemporary dictionary

  • legal fiction — noun an assumption of the truth of something, though unproven or unfounded, for legal purposes …   English new terms dictionary

  • fiction — fic·tion n: legal fiction fic·tion·al adj Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. fiction …   Law dictionary

  • Legal personality — (also artificial personality, juridical personality, and juristic personality) is the characteristic of a non human entity regarded by law to have the status of a person. A legal person (Latin: persona ficta), (also artificial person, juridical… …   Wikipedia

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