act,n.1. Something done or performed, esp. voluntarily; a deed. — Also termed action.

“ ‘[A]ct’ or ‘action’ means a bodily movement whether voluntary or involuntary ….” Model

Penal Code § 1.13.

2. The process of doing or performing; an occurrence that results from a person’s will being

exerted on the external world; ACTION(2). — Also termed positive act; act of commission.“The

term  act  is  one  of  ambiguous  import,  being  used  in  various  senses  of  different  degrees  of

generality. When it is said, however, that an act is one of the essential conditions of liability, we

use the term in the widest sense of which it is capable. We mean by it any event which is subject

to the control of the human will. Such a definition is, indeed, not ultimate, but it is sufficient for

the  purpose  of  the  law.”  John  Salmond,  Jurisprudence  367  (Glanville  L.  Williams  ed.,  10th  ed.


“The  word  ‘act’  is  used  throughout  the  Restatement  of  this  Subject  to  denote  an  external

manifestation  of  the  actor’s  will  and  does  not  include  any  of  its  results,  even  the  most  direct,

immediate, and intended.” Restatement (Second) of Torts § 2 (1965).

abstract  juridical  act.Civil  law.  A  juridical  act  whose  validity  may  be  independent  of  the

existence or lawfulness of the underlying cause. • In some systems, examples include negotiable A

instruments,  debt  remission,  debt  ac-knowledgment,  and  the  novation  of  an  obligation.  See

juridical act.

act  in  pais  (in  pay).  [Law  French]  An  act  performed  out  of  court,  such  as  a  deed  made

between two parties on the land being transferred. See IN PAIS.

act  in  the  law.An  act  that  is  intended  to  create,  transfer,  or  extinguish  a  right  and  that  is

effective in law for that purpose; the exercise of a legal power. — Also termed juristic act; act of

the party; legal act.

act of hostility.See ACT OF HOSTILITY.

act of law.See act of the law.

act of omission.See negative act.

act of the law.The creation, extinction, or transfer of a right by the operation of the law itself,

without any consent on the part of the persons concerned. — Also termed legal act; act of law. Cf.


act of the party.See act in the law.

administrative  act.An  act  made  in  a  management  capacity;  esp.,  an  act  made  outside  the

actor’s usual field (as when a judge supervises court  personnel). • An administrative act is often

subject to a greater risk of liability than an act within the actor’s usual field. See IMMUNITY(1).

bilateral act.An act that involves the consenting wills of two or more distinct parties, as with

a contract, a con-veyance, a mortgage, or a lease; AGREEMENT(1).

conversionary act.An act that, unless privileged, makes the actor liable for conversion.

external act.An act involving bodily activity, such as speaking.

intentional  act.An  act  resulting  from  the  actor’s  will  directed  to  that  end.  •  An  act  is

intentional when it is foreseen and desired by the doer, and this foresight and desire resulted in the

act through the operation of the will.

internal act.An act of the mind, such as thinking.

judicial act.An act involving the exercise of judicial power. — Also termed act of court.

“The distinction between a judicial and a legislative act is well defined. The one determines

what the law is, and what the rights of parties are, with reference to transactions already had; the

other  prescribes  what  the  law  shall  be  in  future  cases  arising  under  it.”  Union  Pacific  R.R.  v.

United States, 99 U.S. 700, 721 (1878)(Field, J., dissenting).

jural act (joor-<<schwa>>l).  An  act taken  in  the  context  of  or  in  furtherance  of  a  society’s

legal system. — Also termed jural activity.

“In order to identify an act as a jural act, it must be the kind of act that would be engaged in

by someone who is enforcing a law, determining an infraction  of the law,  making  or changing a A

law, or settling a dispute.” Martin P. Golding, Philosophy of Law 23 (1975).

juridical  act.Civil  law.  A  lawful  volitional  act  intended  to  have  legal  consequences.  Cf.

abstract juridical act.

juristic act.See act in the law.

legal act.See LEGAL ACT.

ministerial act.An act performed without the independent exercise of discretion or judgment.•

If the act is man-datory, it is also termed a ministerial duty. See ministerial duty under DUTY(2).

negative  act.The  failure  to  do  something  that  is  legally  required;  a  nonoccurrence  that

involves  the  breach  of  a  legal  duty  to  take  positive  action.  •  This  takes  the  form  of  either  a

forbearance or an omission. — Also termed act of omission.

negligent act.An act that creates an unreasonable risk of harm to another.

predicate act.See PREDICATE ACT.

quasi-judicial act.See QUASI-JUDICIAL ACT.

tortious act.An act that subjects the actor to liability under the principles of tort law.

unilateral  act.An  act  in  which  there  is  only  one  party  whose  will  operates,  as  in  a

testamentary  disposition,  the  exercise of  a  power  of  appointment,  or  the  voidance of  a  voidable

unintentional act.An act not resulting from the actor’s will toward what actually takes place.

verbal  act.  1.  An  act  performed  through  the  medium  of  words,  either  spoken  or  written.

2.Evidence. A statement offered to prove the words themselves because of their legal effect (e.g.,

the terms of a will). • For this purpose, the statement is not considered hearsay.

3. The formal product of a legislature or other deliberative body; esp., STATUTE. • For the

various types of acts, see the subentries under STATUTE. [Blacks Law 8th]