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Legal status

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Legal status is the status or position held by an entity as determined by the law.[1][2][3] It includes or entails a set of privileges, obligations, powers or restrictions that a person or thing has as encompassed in or declared by legislation.[4]

Jack Balkin has defined the term by writing, "In law, status is generally a characteristic of an individual that has some legal consequences. Examples are being a servant, a woman, or a minor. Sometimes legal status refers to a characteristic wholly created by law, such as being a Social Security recipient." Thus, legal status is "a feature of individuals and their relationships to the law."[5] Tiffany Graham added to Balkin's definition: "legal status refers to a set of characteristics that define an individual's membership in an official class, as a consequence of which rights, duties, capacities and/or incapacities are acquired."[6]


  1. ^ "Legal Status Law and Legal Definition". USLegal, Inc. Archived from the original on 2018-04-15. Retrieved 2017-02-26.
  2. ^ "What is STATUS? definition of STATUS". Black's Law Dictionary. 7 November 2011. Archived from the original on 2018-07-14. Retrieved 2017-02-27.
  3. ^ "legal status - Dictionary Definition". Vocabulary.com. Archived from the original on 2018-04-14. Retrieved 2017-02-27.
  4. ^ Recognition of unmarried cohabitation as a legal status worthy of protection, 1 N.C. Family Law Practice § 1:5
  5. ^ Balkin, Jack (1997). "The Constitution of Status". Yale Law Journal. 106: 2313.
  6. ^ Graham, Tiffany (2009). "Exploring the Impact of the Marriage Amendments: Can Public Employers Offer Domestic Partner Benefits to Their Gay and Lesbian Employees?". Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law. 17: 83.