What is OFFICE?

“Office” is defined to be a right to exercise a public or private employment, and to take the fees and emoluments thereunto belonging, whether public, as those of magistrates, or private, as of bailiffs, receivers, or the like. 2 Bl. Comm. 36. Itow- land v. New York, 83 N. Y. 372; Dailey v. State, 8 Blackf. (Ind.) 330; Blair v. Marye, 80 Va. 495; Worthy v. Barrett, 03 N. C. 202; People v. Duane, 121 N. Y. 307, 24 N. E. 845; U. S. v. Ilartwell, 6 Wall. 393, 18 L. Ed. 830. That function by virtue whereof a person has some employment in the affairs of an- other, whether judicial, ministerial, legislative, municipal, ecclesiastical, etc. Cowell. An employment on behalf of the government in any station or public trust, not merely transient, occasional, or incidental. In re Attorneys’ Oaths, 20 Johns. (N. Y.) 493. The most frequent occasions to use the word arise with reference to a duty and power conferred on an individual by the government; and, when this is the connection, “public office” is a usual and more discriminating expression. But a power and duty may exist without immediate grant from government, and may be properly called an “office;” as the office of executor, the office of steward. Here the individual acts towards legatees or towards tenants in performance of a duty, and in exercise of a power not derived from their consent, but devolved on him by an authority which quoad hoc is superior. Abbott. Offices may be classed as civil and military; and civil offices may be classed as political, judicial, and ministerial. Political offices are such as are not connected immediately with the administration of justice, or the execution of the mandates of a superior officer. Judicial are those which relate to the administration of justice. Ministerial are those which give the officer no power to judge of the matter to be done, and require him to obey the mandates of a superior. It is a general rule that a judicial office cannot be exercised by deputy, while a ministerial one may. Waldo v. Wallace, 12 Ind. 569. “Office” Is frequently used in the old books as an abbreviation for “inquest of office,” (q. v.)

More On This Topic

Link to This Definition
Did you find this definition of OFFICE helpful? You can share it by copying the code below and adding it to your blog or web page.
Written and fact checked by The Law Dictionary