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JUS Definition & Legal Meaning

Definition & Citations:

Lat In Roman law. Right; justice ; law; the whole body of law; also a right. The term is used in two meanings: 1. “Jus” means “law,” considered in the abstract; that is, as distinguished from any specific enactment, the science or department of learning, or quasi personified factor in human history or conduct or social development, which we call, in a general sense, “the law.” Or it means the law taken as a system, an aggregate, a whole; “the sum total of a number of individual laws taken together.” Or it may designate some one particular system or body of particular laws; as in the phrases “jus civile,” “jus yentium,” “jus pratorium.” 2. In a second sense, “jus” signifies “a right;” that is, a power, privilege, faculty, or demand inherent in one person and incident upon another; or a capacity residing in one person of controlling, with the assent and assistance of the state, the actions of another. This is its meaning in the expressions “jus in rem,” “jus accrescendi,” “jus possessionis.” It is thus seen to possess the same ambiguity as the words “droit,” “recht,” and “right,” (which see.) Within the meaning of the maxim that “ig- norantia juris non excusat” (ignorance of the law is no excuse), the word “jus” is used to denote the general law or ordinary law of the land, and not a private right. Churchill v. Bradley, 58 Vt. 403, 5 Atl. ISO, 56 Am. Rep. 563; Cooper v. Fibbs, L. R. 2 H. L. 149; Freichnecht v. Meyer, 39 N. J. Eq. 561. The continental jurists seek to avoid this ambiguity in the use of the word “jus,” by calling its former signification “objective,” and the latter meaning “subjective.” Thus Mackeldey (Rom. Law,


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