ca·pac·i·ty n pl -ties
1: a qualification, power, or ability (as to give consent or make a testament) created by operation of law
2: an individual's ability or aptitude; esp: mental ability as it relates to responsibility for the commission of a crime (as murder) see also diminished capacity compare competency, incapacity, insanity

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

I (aptitude) noun ability, ableness, aptness, capability, capableness, competence, competency, effectuality, faculty, giftedness, potentiality, power, proficiency, qualification, range, reach, scope, skill, talent associated concepts: full capacity, lack of capacity, legal capacity, lessened capacity, mental capacity, private capacity, proprietary capacity, quasi-judicial capacity, representative capacity, testamentary capacity, want of capacity foreign phrases:
- Sola ac per se senectus donationem tes tamentum aut transactionem non vitiat. — Old age does not alone and of itself vitiate a will, gift, or transaction
- Furiosus stipulare non potest nec aliquid negotium agere, qui non intelligit quid agit. — An insane person who knows not what he is doing, cannot contract nor transact any business.
- Furiosus nullum negotium contrahere potest. — An insane person can make no contract.
- Furiosi nulla voluntas est. — A madman has no will
- Homo potest esse habilis et inhabilis diversis temporibus. — A man is capable and incapable at different times
II (authority) noun accordance, allowance, authorization, certification, charter, consent, control, dispensation, droit, enablement, jurisdiction, justification, leave, legal capacity, liberty, license, permission, permit, power, prerogative, privilege, qualification, right, sanction, sovereignty, stature, supremacy, warrant associated concepts: capacity to sue III (job) noun assignment, function, occupation, position, role, situation, task IV (maximum) noun ampleness, amplitude, breadth, compass, comprehensiveness, containing power, extent, full complement, full extent, full volume, fullness, greatest amount, greatest extent, greatest size, holding ability, largeness, limit, limit of endurance, limitation, measure, physical limit, plenitude, reach, room, scope, spaciousness, stretch, tankage, upper limit, volume V (sphere) noun ambit, area, arena, boundaries, bounds, division, domain, extent, field, jurisdiction, limits, orbit, pale, province, reach, realm, region, scope, specialty, stretch, territory VI index ability, appointment (position), caliber (mental capacity), cargo, competence (ability), coverage (scope), employment, faculty (ability), gift (flair), maximum (amplitude), means (opportunity), measurement, occupation (vocation), office, penchant, performance (workmanship), post, potential, propensity, province, pursuit (occupation), qualification (fitness), role, science (technique), space, sphere, sufficiency

Burton's Legal Thesaurus. . 2006

Legal competence; having the age and mental capacity to understand the consequences of one’s actions and to make rational decisions.

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

strictly, the ability of a person to effect a legal transaction. Questions of capacity differ according to whether the person is a natural or a juristic person. If the latter, capacity will be governed by the document or statute creating the person. Thus, in the case of a public corporation, the relevant founding statute (as amended) will set out what the corporation can or cannot do. Likewise, the capacity of local authorities to enter into transactions is set out in the Local Government Acts; the capacity of companies is governed by their memorandum and articles of association. (In Australia and New Zealand, in the absence of provisions to the contrary in the memorandum and articles, companies are endowed with the powers of natural persons.) Traditionally, in English law three categories of natural persons lacked full capacity, namely, infants, lunatics and married women. The Married Women's Property Act 1882 removed the remaining disabilities for married women. So far as persons under 18 years are concerned, the position is regulated by the Minors' Contracts Act 1987.
In Scots law, women have equal capacity to contract as men. So far as those under 18 years are concerned, the position is regulated by the Age of Legal Capacity (Scotland) Act 1991.

Collins dictionary of law. . 2001.

1 The function, office, position, or role in which one acts.
2 A legal qualification, such as age, that determines one's ability to do something that has legal consequences (such as making a contract or getting married). Also called legal capacity.
3 The mental ability to perceive, understand, and appreciate all relevant facts, to make a rational decision based thereon, and to understand the nature and effect of one's actions.
See also sane.
@ criminal capacity
The mental ability required to sufficiently distinguish right from wrong to hold a person liable for his criminal acts.
See also insanity, infancy.
@ diminished capacity
Reduced mental ability caused by such factors as alcohol or drug use, disease, mental retardation, or injury, that prevents a person from sufficiently distinguishing right from wrong to hold them liable for his criminal acts.
n. An alteration to a defendant's mental state, a reduced ability to understand, usually the result of mental retardation, alcohol or drug intoxication, or some other factor, which exists at the time of the commission of a crime, not sufficient to support an insanity defense, but that raises the issue of whether the defendant was able to form the intent to commit the crime. Typically offered as a defense in partial mitigation to obtain conviction on a lesser included charge or to receive a lesser sentence.
See also insanity.
@ testamentary capacity
The mental ability a person must have at the time he signs a testamentary document, such as a will, for the instrument to be valid. Although it varies from state to state, it usually requires the person to understand who are the natural objects of his bounty, the nature and extent of his property, and the consequences of executing the document.
See also mind.
=>> capacity.

Webster's New World Law Dictionary. . 2000.

The ability, capability, or fitness to do something; a legal right, power, or competency to perform some act. An ability to comprehend both the nature and consequences of one's acts.

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

The ability, capability, or fitness to do something; a legal right, power, or competency to perform some act. An ability to comprehend both the nature and consequences of one's acts.
II Having legal authority or mental ability. Being of sound mind.

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

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