LEVANT ET COUCHANT. This French phrase, which ought perhaps more
properly to be couchant et levant, signifies literally rising and lying down. In
law, it denotes that space of time which cattle have been on the land in which
they have had time to lie down and rise again, which, in general, is held to be
one night at least. 3 Bl. Com. 9; Dane's Ab. Index, h. t; 2 Lilly's Ab. 167;
Wood's Inst. 190; 2 Bouv. Inst. n. 1641.
LEVARI FACIAS, Eng. law. A writ of execution against the goods and
chattels of a clerk. Also the writ of execvtion on a judgment at the suit of the
crown. When issued against an ecclesiastic, this writ is in effect the writ of
fieri facias directed to the bishop of the diocese, commanding him to cause
execution to be made of the goods and chattels of the defendant in his diocese.
The writ also recites, that the sheriff had returned that the defendant had no
lay fee, or goods or chattels whereof he could make a levy, and that the
defendant was a beneficed clerk; &c. See 1, Chit. R. 428; Id. 589, for cases
when it issues at the suit of the crown. This writ is also used to recover the
plain-tiff's debt; the sheriff is commanded to levy, such debt on the lands and
goods of the defendant, in virtue of which he may seize his goods, and receive
the rents and profits of his lands, till satisfaction be made to the plain-tiff.
8 Bl. Com. 417; Vin. Ab. 14; Dane's Ab. Index, h. t.
2. In Pennsylvania, this writ is used to sell lands mortgaged after a
judgment has been obtained by the mortgagee, or his assignee, against the
mortgagor, under peculiar. proceeding authorized by statute. 3 Bouv. Inst. n.
LEVITICAL DEGREES. Those degrees of 'kindred set forth' in the
eighteenth chapter of Leviticus, within which persons are prohibited to marry.
Vide Branch; Descent; Line.
LEVY, practice. A seizure (q. v.) the raising of the money for which
an execution has been issued.
2. ln order to make a valid levy on personal property, the sheriff must have
it within his power and control, or at least withn his view, and if, having it
so, he makes a levy upon it, it will be good if followed up afterwards within a
reasonable time, by his takikng possession in such manner as to apprize
everybody of the fact of its having been taken into execution. 3 Rawle R. 405-6;
1 Whart. 377; 2 S. & R. 142; 1 Wash C. C. R. 29; 6 Watts, 468; 1 Whart. 116.
The usual mode of making levy upon real estate, is to describe the land which
has been seised under the execution, by metes and bounds, as in a deed of
conveyance. 3 Bouv. Inst. n. 3391.
3. It is a general rule, that hwen a sufficient levy has been made, the
officer cannot make a second. 12 John. R. 208; 8 Cowen, R. 192. LEVYING WAR,
crim. law. The assembling of a body of men for the purpose of effecting by force
a treasonable object; and all who perform any part however minute, or however
remote from the scene of action, and who are leagued in the general conspiracy,
are considered as engaged in levying war, within the meaning of the
constitution. 4 Cranch R. 473-4; Const. art. 3, s. 3. Vide Treason; Fries'Trial;
Pamphl. This is a technical term, borrowed from the English law, and its meaning
is the same as it is when used in stat. 25 Ed. III.; 4 Cranch's R. 471; U. S. v.
Fries, Pamphl. 167; Hall's Am. Law Jo. 351; Burr's Trial; 1 East, P. C. 62 to
77; Alis. Cr. Law of Scotl. 606; 9 C. & P. 129.
LEX. The law. A law for the government of mankind in society. Among
the ancient Romans, this word was frequently used as synonymous with right, jus.
When put absolutely, lex meant the Law of the Twelve Tables.
LEX FALCIDIA, civ. law. The name of a law which permitted a testator
to dispose of three-fourtbs of his property, but he could not deprive his heir
of the other fourth. It was made during the reign of Augustus, about the year of
Rome 714, on the requisition of Falcidius, a tribune. Inst. 2, 22; Dig. 35, 2;
Code, 6, 50;. and Nov. 1 and 131. Vide article Legitime, and Coop. Just. 486;
Rob. Frauds, 290, note 113.
LEX FORI, practice. The law of the court or forum.
2. The forms of remedies, the modes of proceeding, and the execution of
judgments, are to be regulated solely and exclusively, by the laws of the place
where the action is instituted or as the civilians uniformly express it,
according to the lex fori. Story, Confl. of Laws, §550; 1 Caines' Rep. 402; 3
Johns. Ch. R. 190; 5 Johns. R. 132; 2 Mass. R. 84; 7 Mass. R. 515; 3 Conn. R.
472; 7 M. R. 214; 1 Bouv. Inst. n. 860.
LEX LOCI CONTRACTUS, contracts. The law of the place where an
agreement is made.
2. Generally, the validity of a contract is to be decided by the law of the
place where, the contract is made; if valid, there it is, in general, valid
everywhere. Story, Confl. of Laws, §242, and the cases there cited. And vice
versa if void or illegal there, it is generally void everywhere. Id §243; 2 Kent
Com. 457; 4 M. R. 584; 7 M. R. 213; 11 M. R. 730; 12 M. R. 475; 1 N. S. 202; 5
N. S. 585; 6 N. S. 76; 6 L. R. 676; 6 N. S. 631; 4 Blackf. R. 89.
3. There is an exception to the rule as to the universal validity of
contracts. The comity of nations, by virtue of which such contracts derive their
force in foreign countries, cannot prevail in cases where it violates the law of
our own country, the law of nature, or the law of God. 2 Barn. & Cresw. 448,
471. And a furthIer exeeption may be mentioned, namely, that no nation will
regard or enforce the revenue laws of another country. Cas. Tem. 85, 89,
4. When the contract is entered into in one place, to be executed in another,
there are two loci contractus; the locus celebrate contractus, and the locus
solutionis; the former governs in everything which relates to the mode of
construing the contract, the meaning to be attached to the expressions, and the
nature and validity of the engagement; but the latter governs the performance of
the agreement. 8 N. S. 34. Vide 15 Serg. & Rawle 84; 2 Mass. R. 88; 1 Nott
& M'Cord, 173; 2 Harr. & Johns. 193, 221; 2 N. H. Rep. 42; 5 Id. 401; 2
John. Cas. 355; 5 Pardes. n. 1482; Bac. Abr. Bail in Civil Causes, B 5; Com.
Dig. 545, n.; 1 Supp. to Ves. jr. 270; 8 Ves. 198; 5 Ves. 750.
LEX LONGOBARDORUM. The name of an ancient code in force among the
Lombards. It contains many evident traces of feudal policy. It survived the
destruction of the ancient government of Lombardy by Charlemagne, and is said to
be still partially in force in some districts of Italy.
LEX MERCATORIA. That system of laws which is adopted by all commercial
nations, and which, therefore, constitutes a part of the law of the land. Vide
LEX TALIONIS. The law of retaliation an example of which is given in
the law of Moses, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, &c.
2. Jurists and writers on international law are divided as to the right of
one nation punishing with death, by way of retaliation, the citizen's or
subjects of another nation; in, the United States no example of such barbarity
has ever been witnessed but, prisoners have been kept in close confinement in
retaliation for the same conduct towards American prisoners. Vide Rutherf. Inst.
b. 2, c. 9; Mart. Law of Nat. b. 8, c. 1, s. 3, note 1 Kent, Com. 93.
3. Writers on the law of nations have divided retaliation into vindictive and
amicable: By the former are meant those acts of retaliation which amount to a
war; the latter those acts of retaliation which correspond to the acts of the
other nation under similar circumstances. Wheat. Intern. Law, pt. 4, c. 1,
LEX TERAE. The law of the land. The phrase is used to distinguisb this
from the civil or Roman law.
2. By lex terrae, as used in Magna Charta, is meant one process of law,
namely, proceeding by indictment or presentment of good and lawful men. 2 Inst.
50; 19 Wend. 659; 4 Dev. R. 15. in the constitution of Tennessee, the words "the
law of the land" signify a general and public law, operating equally upon every
member of the community. 10 Yerg. 71.
LEY. This word is old French, a corruption of loi, and signifies law;
for example, Termes de la Ley, Terms of the Law. In another, and an old
technical sense, ley signifies an oath, or the oath with compurgators; as, il
tend sa ley aiu pleyntiffe. Brit. c. 27.
LEY-GAGER. Wager of Law. (q. v.)
LIABILITY. Responsibility; the state of one who is bound in law and
justice to do sometbing which may be enforced by action. This liability may
arise from contracts either express or implied, or in consequence of torts
2. The liabilities of one man are not in general transferred to his
representative's further than to reach the estate in his hands. For example, an
executor is not responsible for the liabilities of his testator further than the
estate of the testator which has come to his hands. See Hamm. on Pait. 169,
3. The husband is liable for his wife's contracts made dum sola, and for
those made during coverture for necessaries, and for torts committed either
while she was sole or since her marriage with him; but this liability continues
only during the coverture; as to her torts, or even her contracts made before
marriage; for the latter, however, she may be sued as her executor or
administiator, when she assumes that character.
4. A master is liable for the acts of his servant while in his employ,
performed in the usual course of his business, upon the presumption that they
have been authorized by him; but he is responiible only in a civil point of view
and not criminally, unless the acts have been actually authorized by him. See
Bouv. Inst. Index, h. t.; Driver; Quasi Offence; Servant.
LIBEL, practice. A libel has been defined to be "the plaintiff's
petition or allegation, made and exhibited in a judicial process, with some
solemnity of law;" it is also, said to be "a short and well ordered writing,
setting forth in a clear manner, as well to the judge as to the defendant, the
plaintiff's or accuser's intention in judgment." It is a written statement by a
plaintiff, of his cause of action, and of the relief he seeks to obtain in a
suit. Law's Eccl. Law, 147; Ayl. Par. 346; Shelf. on M. & D. 506; Dunf Adm.
Pr. 111; Betts. Pr. 17; Proct. Pr. h. t.; 2 Chit. Pr. 487, 533.
2. The libel should be a narrative, specious, clear, direct, certain, not
general, nor alternative. 3 Law's Eccl. Law. 147. It should contain,
substantially, the following requisites: 1. The name, description, and addition
of the plaintiff, who makes his demand by bringing his action. 2 The name,
description, and addition of the defendant. 3. The name of the judge with a
respectful designation of his office and court. 4. The thing or relief, general
or special, which is demanded in the suit. 5. The grounds upon which the suit is
founded. All these things are summed up in Latin, as follows;
Quis, quid, coram quo, quo jure petitur, et a quo, Recte compositus quique
which has been translated,
Each plaintiff and defendant's name, and eke the judge who tries the same,
The thing demanded and the right whereby You urge to have it granted
instantly: He doth a libel write and well compose, Who forms the same,
emitting none of those.
3. The form of a libel is either simple or articulate. The simple form is,
when the cause of action is stated in a continuous narration, when the cause of
action can be briefly set forth. The articulate form, is when the cause of
action is stated in distinct allegations, or articles. 2 Law's Ecel. Law, 148;
Hall's Adm. Pr. 123; 7 Cranch, 349. The material facts should be stated in
distinct articles in the libel, with as much exactness and attention to times
and circumstances, as in a declaration at common law. 4 Mason, 541. Pompous
diction and strong epithets are out of place in a legal paper designed to obtain
the admission of the opposite party of the averments it contains, or to lay
before the court the facts which the actor will prove.
4. Although there is no fixed formula for libels and the court will receive
such an instrument from the party in such form as his own skill or that of his
counsel may enable him to give it, yet long usage has sanctioned forms, which it
may be most prudent to adopt. The parts and arrangement of libels commonly
5. - 1. The address to the court; as, To the Honorable John K. Kane, Judge of
the district court of the United States, within and for the eastern district of
6. - 2. The names and descriptions of the parties. Persons competent to sue
at common law may be parties libellants, and similar regulations obtain in the
admiralty courts and the common law courts, respecting those disqualified from
suing in their own right or name. Married women prosecute by their husbands, or
by prochein ami, when the husband has an adverse interest to hers; minors, by
guardians, tutors, or prochein ami; lunatics and persons non compos mentis, by
tutor, guardian ad litem, or committee; the rights of deceased persons are
prosecuted by executors or administrators; and corporations are represented, and
proceeded against as at common law.
7. - 3. The averments or allegations setting forth the cause of action should
be conformable to the truth, and so framed as to correspond with the evidence.
Every fact requisite to establish the libellant's right should be clearly
stated, so that it may be directly met by the opposing party by admission,
denial or avoidance; this is the more necessary because no proof can be given,
or decree rendered, not covered by and conformable to the allegations. 1 Law's
Eccl. Laws, 150; Hall's Pr. 126; Dunl. Adm. Pr. 113; 7 Cranch, 394.
8. - 4. The conclusion, or prayer for relief and process; the prayer should
be for the specific relief desired; for general relief, as is usual in bills in
chancery; the conclusion should also pray for general, or particular process.
Law's Eccl. Law, 149; and see 3 Mason, R. 503. Interrogatories are sometimes
annexed to the libel; when this is the case, there is usually a special prayer,
that the defendant may be required to answer the libel, and the interrogatories
annexed and propounded. This, however, is a dangerous practice, because it
renders the answers of the defendant evidence, which must be disproved by two
witnesses, or by one witness, corroborated by very strong circumstances.
9. The libel is the first proceeding in a suit in admiralty in the courts of
the United States. 3 Mason, R., 504. It is also used in some other courts. Vide,
generally, Dunl. Adm. Pr. ch. 3; Bett's Adm. Pr. s. 3; Shelf. on. M. & D.
606; Hall's Adm. Pr. Index, h. t.; 3 Bl. Com. 100; Ayl. Par. Index, h. t.; Com.
Dig. Admiralty, E; 2 Roll. &b. 298.
LIBEL, libellus, criminal law. A malicious defamation expressed either
in printing or writing, or by signs or pictures, tending to blacken the memory
of one who is dead, with intent to provoke the living; or the reputation of one
who is alive, and to expose him to public hatred, contempt, or ridicule. Hawk.
b. 1, c. 73, s. 1; Wood's Inst, 444; 4 Bl. Com. 150; 2 Chitty, Cr. Law, 867;
Holt on Lib. 73; 5 Co. 125; Salk. 418; Ld. Rgym. 416; 4. T. R. 126; 4 Mass. R.
168; 9 John. 214; 1 Den. Rep. 347; 2 Pick. R. 115; 2 Kent, Com. 13. It has been
defined perhaps with more precision to be a censorious or ridiculous writing,
picture or sign made with a malicious or mischievous intent, towards government
magistrates or individuals. 3 John. Cas. 354; 9 John. R. 215; 5 Binn. 340.
2. In briefly considering this offence, we will inquire, 1st. By what mode of
expression a libel may be conveyed. 2d. Of what kind of defamation it must
consist. 3d. How plainly it must be expressed. 4th. What mode of publication is
3. - 1. The reduction of the slanderous matter to writing, or printing, is
the most usual mode of conveying it. The exhibition of a picture, intimating
that which in print would be libelous, is equally criminal. 2 Camp. 512; 5 Co.
125; 2 Serg. & Rawle 91. Fixing a gallows at a man's door, burning him in
effigy, or exhibiting him in any ignominious manner, is a libel. Hawk. b. 1, c.
73, s. 2,; 11 East, R. 227.
4. - 2. There is perhaps no branch of the law which is so difficult to reduce
to exact, principles, or to compress within a small compass, as the requisites
of a libel. All publications denying the Christian religion to be true; 11 Serg.
& Rawle, 394; Holt on Libels, 74; 8 Johns. R. 290; Vent. 293; Keb. 607; all
writings subversive of morality and tending to inflame the passions by indecent
language, are indictable at common law. 2 Str. 790; Holt on Libels, 82; 4 Burr.
2527. In order to constitute a libel, it is not necessary that anything criminal
should be imputed to the party injured; it is enough if the writer has exhibited
him in a ludicrous point of view; has pointed him out as an object of ridicule
or disgust; has, in short, done that which has a natural tendency to excite him
to revenge. 2 Wils. 403; Bacon's Abr. Libel, A 2; 4 Taunt. 355; 3 Camp. 214;
Hardw. 470; 5 Binn. 349. The case of Villars v. Monsley, 2 Wils. 403, above
cited, was grounded upon the following verses, which were held to be libelous,
"Old-Villers, so strong of brimstone you smell,
As if not long since you
had got out of hell,
But this damnable smell I no longer can
Therefore I desire you would come no more here;
You, old stinking;
old nasty, old itchy, old toad,
If you come any more you shall pay for your
You'll therefore take this as a warning from me,
And never enter
the doors, while they belong to J. P.
Wilncot, December 4, 1767."
5. Libels against the memory of the dead which have a tendency to create a
breach of the peace by inciting the friends and relatives of the deceased to
avenge the insult of the fanlily, render their authors liable to legal
animadversion. 5 co. 123; 5 Binn. 281; 2 Chit. Cr. Law, 868; 4 T. R. 186.
6. - 3. If the matter be understood as scandalous, and is calculated to
excite ridicule or abhorrence against the party intended, it is libelous,
however it may be expressed. 5 East, 463; 1 Price, 11, 17; Hob. 215; Chit. Cr.
Law, 868; 2 Campb. 512.
7. - 4. The malicious reading of a libel to one or more persons, it being on
the shelves in a bookstore, as other books, for sale; and where the defendant
directed the libel to be printed, took away some and left others; these several
acts have been held to be publications. The sale of each copy; where several
copies have been sold, is a distinct publication, and a fresh offence. The
publication must be malicious; evidence of the malice may be either express or
implied. Express proof is not necessary: for where a man publishes a writing
which on the face of it is libelous, the law presumes he does so from that
malicious intention which constitutes the offence, and it is unnecessary, on the
part of the prosecution, to prove any circumstance from which malice may be
inferred. But no allegation, however false and malicious, contained in answers
to interrogatories, in affidavits duly made, or any other proceedings, in courts
of justice, or petitions to the legislature, are indictable. 4 Co. 14; 2 Burr.
807; Hawk. B. 1, c. 73, s. 8; 1 Saund. 131, n. 1; 1 Lev. 240; 2 Chitty's Cr.
Law, 869; 2 Serg. & Rawle, 23. It is no defence that the matter published is
part of a document printed by order of the house of commons. 9 A. &E. 1.
8. The publisher of a libel is liable to be punished criminally by
indictment; 2 Chitty's Cr. Law, 875; or is subject to an action on the case by
the party grieved. Both remedies may be pursued at the same time. Vide)
generally, Holt on Libels; Starkie on Slander; 1 Harr. Dig. Case, I.; Chit. Cr.
L. Index, h. t.; Chit. Pr. Index, h. t.
LIBEL OF ACCUSATION. A term used in Scotland to designate the
instrument which contains the charge against a person accused of a crime. Libels
are of two kinds, namely, indictments and crimiual letters.
2. Every libel assumes the form of what is termed in logic, a syllogism. It
is first stated that some partioular kind of act is criminal; as, that "theft is
a crime of a heinous nature, and severely punishable." This proposition is
termed the major. It is next stated that the person accused is guilty, of the
crime so named, "actor, or art and part." This, with the narrative of the manner
in which, and the time when the offence was committed, is called the, minor
proposition of the libel. The conclusion is that all or part of the facts being
proved, or admitted by confession, the panel "ought to be punished with the
pains of the law, to deter others from committing the like crime in all time
coming." Burt Man. Pub. L. 300, 301.
LIBELLANT. The party who fires a libel in a chancery or admiralty
case, correspondes to the plaintiff in actions in the common law courts, is
called the libellant.
LIBELLEE. A party against whom a libel has been filed in chancery
proceedings, or in admiralty, corresponding to the defendant in a common law
LIBER. A book; a principal subdivision of a literary work: thus, the
Pandects, or Digest of the Civil Law, is divided into fifty books.
LIBER ASSISARUM. The book of assizes, or pleas of the crown; being the
fifth part of the Year Books. (q. v.)
LIBER FEUD RUM. A code of the feudal law, which was compiled by
direction of the emperor Frederick Barbarossa, and published in Milan, in 1170.
It was called the Liber Feudorum, and was divided into five books, of which the
first, second, and some fragments of the other's still exist and are printed at
the end of all the modern editions of the Corpus Juris Civilis. Giannone, B. 13,
c, 3; Cruise's Dig. Prel. Diss. c. 1, §31.
LIBER HOMO. A freeman lawfully competent to act as a juror. Raym. 417;
LIBERATE, English practice. A writ which issues on lands, tenements,
and chattels, being returned under an extent on a statute staple, commanding the
sheriff to deliver them to the plaintiff, by the extent aud appraisement
mentioned in the writ of extent, and in the sheriff's return thereto. See Com
dig. Statute Staple, D 6.
LIBERATION, civil law. This term is synonymous with payment. Dig. 50,
16, 47. It is the extinguishment of a contract by which he who was bound
become's free, or liberated. Wolff, Dr. de la Nat. § 749.
LIBERTI, LIBERTINI. These two words were, at different times, made to
express among the Romans, the condition of those who, having been slaves, had
been made free. 1 Brown's Civ. Law, 99. There is some distinction between these
words. By libertus, was understood the freedman, when considered in relation to
his patron, who had bestowed liberty upon him and he was called libertinus, when
considered in relation to the state he occupied in society since his
manumission. Lec. El. Dr. Rom. §93.