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DISABILITY Definition & Legal Meaning

Definition & Citations:

The want of legal ability or capacity to exercise legal rights, eitherspecial or ordinary, or to do certain acts with proper legal effect or to enjoy certainprivileges or powers of free action. Berkin v. Marsh, 18 Mont 152, 44 Pac. 528, 56 Am. St. Rep. 565.At the present day, disability is generally used to indicate an incapacity for the full enjoyment of ordinary legal rights; thus married women, persons under age, insanepersons, and felons convict are said to be under disability. Sometimes the term is usedin a more limited sense, as when it signifies an impediment to marriage, or therestraints placed upon clergymen by reason of their spiritual avocations. Mozley &Whitley.Classification. Disability is either general or special; the former when it incapacitatesthe person for the performance of all legal acts of a general class, or giving to themtheir ordinary legal effect; the latter when it debars him from one specific act. Disabilityis also either personal or absolute; the former where it attaches to the particularperson, and arises out of his statut, his previous act, or his natural or juridicalincapacity; the latter where it originates with a particular person, but extends also to hisdescendants or successors. Lord de le Warre’s Case, 6 Coke, la; Avegno v. Schmidt, 113U. S. 293. 5 Sup. Ct. 487. 28 L. Ed. 976. Considered with special reference to thecapacity to contract a marriage, disability is either canonical or civil; a disability of theformer class makes the marriage voidable only, while the latter, in general, avoids it


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