What is Act?

Legal Definition
1. Something done or performed by a person or body (such as a court).

2. Formal product of a legislative body that becomes part of the law. An act may or may not concern a single subject (e.g., air quality). Acts codified in the United States Code can be found via the Table of Popular Names.

3. A word often included in the titles of legislative bills that have yet to become law.
Legal Definition
Civil law, contracts. A writing which states in a legal form that a thing has been said, done, or agreed. In Latin, Instrumentum. Merl. Rep.
-- Bouviers Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
In the legal sense, this word may be used to signify the result of a public deliberation, the decision of a prince, of a legislative body, of a council, court of justice, or a magistrate. Also, a decree, edict, law, judgment, resolve, award, determination. Also, an instrument in writing to verify facts, as act of assembly, act of congress, act of parliament, act and deed. See Webster's Dict. Acts are civil or criminal, lawful or unlawful, public or private.

2. Public acts, usually denominated authentic, are those which have a public authority, and which have been made before public officers, are authorized by a public seal, have been made public by the authority of a magistrate, or which have been extracted and been properly authenticated from public records.

3. Acts under private signature are those which have been made by private individuals, under their hands. An act of this kind does not acquire the force of an authentic act, by being registered in the office of a notary. 5 N. S. 693; 8 N. S. 568 ; 3 L. R. 419 ; 8 N. S. 396 ; 11 M. R. 243; unless it hasheen properly acknowledged before the officer, bythe parties to it. 5 N. S. 196.

4. Private acts are those made by private persons, as registers in relation to their receipts and expenditures, schedules, acquittances, and the like. Nov. 73, c. 2 ; Code, lib. 7, tit. 32, 1. 6; lib. 4, t. 21; Dig. lib. 22, tit.. 4; Civ. Code of Louis. art. 2231 to 2254; Toull. Dr. Civ. Francais, tom. 8, p. 94.
-- Bouviers Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
Evidence. The act of one of several conspirators, performed in pursuance of the common design, is evidence against all of them. An overt act of treason must be proved by two witnesses. See Overt.

2. The terra. acts, includes written correspondence, and other papers relative to the design of the parties, but whether it includes unpublished writings upon abstract questions, though of a kindred nature, has been doubted, Foster's Rep. 198 ; 2 Stark. R. 116, 141.

3. In cases of partnership it is a rule that the act or declaration of either partner, in furtherance of the common object of the association, is the act of all. 1 Pet. R. 371 5 B. & Ald. 267.

4. And the acts. of an agent, in pursuance of his authority, will be binding on his principal. Greenl. Ev. 113. ACT, legislation. A statute or law made by a legislative body; as an act of congress is a law by the congress of the United States; an act of assembly is a law made by a legislative assembly. If an act of assembly expire or be repealed while a proceeding under it is in fieri or pending, the proceeding becomes abortive; as a prosecution for an offence, 7 Wheat. 552; or a proceeding under insolvent laws. 1 Bl. R. 451; Burr. 1456 ; 6 Cranch, 208 ; 9 Serg. & Rawle, 283.

2. Acts are general or special; public or private. A general or public act is a universal rule which binds the whole community; of which the courts are bound to take notice ex officio.

3. Explanatory acts should not be enlarged by equity Blood's case, Comb. 410; although such acts may be allowed to have a retrospective operation. Dupin, Notions de Droit, 145. 9.

4. Private or special acts are rather exceptions, than rules; being those which operate only upon particular persons and private concerns; of these the courts are not bound to take notice, unless they are pleaded. Com. 85, 6; 1 Bouv. Inst. n. 105.
-- Bouviers Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
v. In Scotch practice. To do or perform judicially; to enter of record. Surety "acted in the Books of Adjournal." 1 Broun. 4.
-- Black's Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
n. In Its most general sense, this noun signifies something done voluntarily by a person; the exercise of an individual's power; an effect produced in the external world by an exercise of the power of a person objectively, prompted by intention, and proximately caused by a motion of the will. In a more technical sense, it means something done voluntarliy by a person, and of such a nature that contain legal consequences attach to it. Duncan v. Landis, 106 Fed. 839, 45 C. C. A. 666. Thus a grantor acknowledges the conveyance to be his "act and deed," the terms being synonymous.

In the civil law. An act is a writing which states in a legal form that a thing has been said, done, or agreed. Merl. Repert. In practice. Anything done by a court and reduced to writing; a decree, judgment, resolve, rule, order, or other judicial proceeding. In Scotch law, the orders and decrees of a court, and in French and German law, all the records and documents in an action, are called "acts." In legislation. A written law, formally ordained or passed by the legislative power of a state, called in England an 'act of parliament," and in the United States an "act of congress," or of the "legislature;" a statute. People v. Tiphaine, 3 Parker, Cr. R. (N. Y.) 241; United States v. Smith, 27 Fed. Cas. 1167.

Acts are either public or private. Public acts (also called general acts, or general statutes, or statutes at large) are those which relate to the community generally, or establish a universal rule for the governance of the whole body politic. Private acts (formerly called special, Co. Litt. 126a) are those which relate either to particular persons (personal acts) or to particular places, (local acts,) or which operate only upon specified individuals or their private concerns. In Scotch practice. An abbreviation of ' actor, (proctor or advocate, especially for a plaintiff or pursuer,) used in records. "Act. A. Alt. B." an abbreviation of Actor, A. Alter, B.; that is, for the pursuer or plaintiff, A., for the defender, B. 1 Broun, 336, note.
-- Black's Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
A thing done or established. A statute.
-- Ballentine's Law Dictionary