no-right,n. The absence of right against another in some particular respect. • A no-right is the
correlative of a privilege. — Also termed liability.
“A says to B, ‘If you will agree to pay me $100 for this horse you may have him and you may indicate your agreement by taking him.’ This is a physical fact, called an offer, consisting of certain muscular acts of A having certain physical results in B. The legal relations immediately following are (in part) as follows: B now has the privilege of taking the horse and A has no-right that he shall not ….” William R. Anson, Principles of the Law of Contract 321 (Arthur L. Corbin ed., 3d Am. ed. 1919).
“ ‘No-right’ is sometimes derided as being a purely negative concept. If a no-right is something that is not a right, the class of no-rights must, it is said, include elephants. The answer is that negative terms are often useful as alternative ways of stating propositions involving negatives. For instance, the terms ‘alien,’ ‘cold,’ and ‘dark’ are all negative or privative, because their meaning includes the idea of the absence of something else. The proposition that A is an alien means that A is not a British subject; in the one mode of statement the negative is incorporated in the noun, whereas in the other it is expressed as a separate word. Similarly the word ‘liberty’ is negative, and critics who attack the concept of no-right should logically attack the concept of liberty also…. [L]iberty means ‘no-duty not.’ … [F]or the sake of clear thinking it is necessary to give each of the four meanings [of right] a separate name. Words like ‘no-right’ and ‘no-duty’ may seem uncouth at first sight, but it is surely a clear and useful statement to say that ‘right’ sometimes means ‘no-duty not.’ ” John Salmond, Jurisprudence 240–41 n.(u) (Glanville L.
Williams ed., 10th ed. 1947).
[Blacks Law 8th]