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.