A law ordained by the sovereign, by which he forbids or commands
something it extends either to the whole country, or only to some
2. Edicts are somewhat similar to public proclamations. Their difference
consists in this, that the former have authority and form of law in
themselves, whereas the latter are at most, declarations of a law, before
enacted by congress, or the legislature.
3. Among the Romans this word sometimes signified, a citation to appear
before a judge. The edict of the emperors, also called constitutiones
principum, were new laws which they made of their own motion, either to
decide cases which they had foreseen, or to abolish or change some ancient
laws. They were different from their rescripts or decrees. These edicts
were the sources which contributed to the formation of the Gregorian,
Hermogenian, Theodosian, and Justinian Codes. Vide Dig. 1, 4, 1, 1, Inst.
1, 2, 7, Code, 1, 1 Nov. 139.
Source: Bouviers Law Dictionary 1856 Edition
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