ne·ces·si·ty n pl -ties
1 a: the presence or pressure of circumstances that justify or compel a certain course of action; esp: a need to respond or react to a dangerous situation by committing a criminal act
b: an affirmative defense originating in common law that the defendant had to commit a criminal act because of the pressure of a situation that threatened a harm greater than that resulting from the act see also choice of evils defense at defense 2a compare duress, undue influence
2: something that is necessary esp. to subsistence
obligated to provide the necessities of food, clothing, and shelter

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law. . 1996.

I noun absolute requisite, basic ingredient, central element, characteristic feature, compelling quality, compulsory detail, crucial part, egestas, elementary detail, essential, essential element, exigency, fundamental, fundamental principle, fundamental unit, highly important detail, imperative, indispensable, indispensable provision, inevitable, integral part, irreplaceable feature, irresistible compulsion, main ingredient, mandatory factor, necessary attribute, necessary component, necessitas, need, precondition, prerequirement, prerequisite, primary constituent, qualification, recognized condition, required item, requirement, requisite, rudiment, significant detail, strategic item, urgency, urgent requirement, vital part, vitals associated concepts: compelling necessity, economic necessity, finding of necessity, prescription by necessity, public necessity, strict necessity foreign phrases:
- Quod est necessarium est licitum. — That which is necessary is lawful
- Necessitas excusat aut extenuat delictum in capltalibus, quod non operatur Idem in civllibus. — Necessity excuses or extenuates an offense in capital cases, but not in civil cases
- Necessitas est lex temporis et loci. — Necessity is the law of a particular time and place.
- Lex fudicat de rebus necessario faciendls quasi re Ipsa factis. — The law judges of things which must necessarily be done as if they were actually done
- Necessitas inducit prlvilegium quoad jura prlvata. — Necessity gives a privilege with reference to private rights
- Necessitas publica mafor est quam prlvata. — Public necessity is greater than private
II index burden, coercion, compulsion (coercion), desideratum, enforcement, exigency, force (compulsion), market (demand), necessary, need (deprivation), need (requirement), obligation (duty), poverty, prerequisite, pressure, priority, privation, requirement, requisition, sine qua non

Burton's Legal Thesaurus. . 2006

Something that is required or must be done; the state of being required.

The Essential Law Dictionary. — Sphinx Publishing, An imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. . 2008.

a defence in criminal matters that may mitigate but not exculpate, as in the famous case of R v . Dudley and Stevens (1884) 14 QBD 273, in which a pair of starving survivors of a ship that had recently sunk ate their fellow survivor, the cabin boy. Although convicted of murder, they were not executed. In the English case of R v. Blackshall [1998] TLR 243, it was held that necessity or duress of circumstances is available as a defence to a case of careless driving where the accused was driving away from a road rage attack. Reasonable perception of a threat is sufficient: R v. Cairns [1999] TLR 275. In one Scottish case, a driver trying to escape an assault was acquitted of drink driving: Tudhope v. Grubb [1983] SCCR 368. The Scottish High Court of Justiciary has now fully recognised this concept: Moss v . Howdle 1997 SLT 782.
In the USA it was held that in a shipwreck the core crew should be saved first to pilot the ship. After that, supernumerary seamen are first sacrificed and only then (presumably) the passengers. 'There is, however, one condition of extremity for which all writers have prescribed the same rule. When the ship is in danger of sinking, but all maintenance is exhausted, and a sacrifice of one person is necessary to appease the hunger of others, the selection is by lot. This mode is reported to as the fairest mode, and, in some sort, as an appeal to God, for the selection of the victim': US v . Holmes 26 Fed. Cas. 360 (1842).

Collins dictionary of law. . 2001.

n. A defense to a criminal charge or civil claim, that the party's actions were in response to a supervening state of emergency.

Webster's New World Law Dictionary. . 2000.

A defense asserted by a criminal or civil defendant that he or she had no choice but to break the law.

Dictionary from West's Encyclopedia of American Law. 2005.

A defense asserted by a criminal or civil defendant that he or she had no choice but to break the law.

Short Dictionary of (mostly American) Legal Terms and Abbreviations.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Necessity — • A strict connection between different beings, or the different elements of a being, or between a being and its existence. Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Necessity     Necessity …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Necessity — Ne*ces si*ty, n.; pl. {Necessities}. [OE. necessite, F. n[ e]cessit[ e], L. necessitas, fr. necesse. See {Necessary}.] 1. The quality or state of being necessary, unavoidable, or absolutely requisite; inevitableness; indispensableness. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • necessity — ► NOUN (pl. necessities) 1) the state or fact of being required or indispensable. 2) an indispensable thing. 3) a situation enforcing a particular course: created more by necessity than design. ● necessity is the mother of invention Cf.… …   English terms dictionary

  • necessity — (n.) late 14c., constraining power of circumstances, from O.Fr. necessité need, necessity; privation, poverty; distress, torment; obligation, duty (12c.), from L. necessitatem (nom. necessitas) compulsion, need for attention, unavoidableness,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • necessity — [nə ses′ətē] n. pl. necessities [ME necessite < OFr nécessité < L necessitas < necesse: see NECESSARY] 1. the power of natural law that cannot be other than it is; natural causation; physical compulsion placed on man by nature; fate 2.… …   English World dictionary

  • necessity — *need, exigency Analogous words: compelling or compulsion, constraining or constraint, obliging or obligation, coercing or coercion (see corresponding verbs at FORCE): indispensableness, requisiteness or requisition, needfulness (see… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • necessity — [n] need, essentiality call, cause, claim, compulsion, demand, desideratum, duress, essence, essential, exaction, exigency, fundamental, godsend*, imperative, indispensability, inevitability, inexorableness, life or death*, must, necessary,… …   New thesaurus

  • necessity — noun 1 fact that sth must happen; sth that cannot be avoided ADJECTIVE ▪ absolute, fundamental (esp. BrE), sheer, vital ▪ Sleep is an absolute necessity for life. ▪ dire, urgent …   Collocations dictionary

  • Necessity — (Roget s Thesaurus) < N PARAG:Necessity >N GRP: N 1 Sgm: N 1 involuntariness involuntariness Sgm: N 1 instinct instinct blind impulse Sgm: N 1 inborn proclivity inborn proclivity innate proclivity Sgm: N 1 native tendency native tendency… …   English dictionary for students

  • Necessity — This article is about the definition of necessity according to domestic law. For the concept of necessity in international law, see Military necessity. For logical meanings, see Necessary (disambiguation) and Modal logic …   Wikipedia

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