The Law Dictionary

Your Free Online Legal Dictionary • Featuring Black’s Law Dictionary, 2nd Ed.

RESTRAINT Definition & Legal Meaning

Definition & Citations:

Confinement, abridgment, or limitation. Prohibition of action; holding or pressing back from action. Hindrance, confinement, or restriction of liberty. “What, then, according to a common unaer- standing, is the meaning of the term ‘restraint?’ Does it imply that the limitation, restriction, or confinement must be imposed by those who are in possession of the person or thing which is limited, restricted, or confined, or is the term satisfied by a restriction created by the application of external force? If, for example, a town be besieged, and the inhabitauts confined within its walls by the besieging army, if, iu attempting to come out, they are forced back, would it be inaccurate to say that they are restrained within those limits? The court believes that it would not; and, if it would not, then with equal propriety may it be said, when a port is blockaded, that the vessels within are confined, or restrained from coming out. The blockading force is not in possession of the vessels inclosed in the harbor, but it acts upon and restrains them. It is a vis major, applied directly and effectually to them, which prevents them from coming out of port. This appears to the court to be, in correct language, ‘a restraint’ by the power imposing the blockade; and when a vessel, attempting to come out, is boarded and turned back, this restraining force is practically applied to such vessel.” Olivera v. Union Ins. Co.. 3 Wheat. 1S9, 4 L. Ed. 305. Tlie terms “restraint” and “detention of princes,” as used in policies of marine insurance, have the same meaning,


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