What is Capacity?

Legal Definition
The capacity of natural and juridical persons, and legal persons in general, determines whether they may make binding amendments to their rights, duties and obligations, such as getting married or merging, entering into contracts, making gifts, or writing a valid will. Capacity is an aspect of status and both are defined by a person's personal law:

  • for natural persons, the law of domicile or lex domicilii in common law jurisdictions, and either the law of nationality or lex patriae, or of habitual residence in civil law states;
  • for juridical persons, the law of the place of incorporation, the lex incorporationis for companies while other forms of business entity derive their capacity either from the law of the place in which they were formed or the laws of the states in which they establish a presence for trading purposes depending on the nature of the entity and the transactions entered into.

When the law limits or bars a person from engaging in specified activities, any agreements or contracts to do so are either voidable or void for incapacity. Sometimes such legal incapacity is referred to as incompetence. For comparison, see Competence (law).
-- Wikipedia
Legal Definition
In contract law, a person's ability to satisfy the elements required for someone to enter binding contracts. For example, capacity rules often require a person to have reached a minimum age and to have soundness of mind.
Legal Definition
This word, in the law sense, denotes some ability, power, qualifi- cation, or competency of persons, natural, or artificial, for the performance of civil acts, depending on their state or condition, as defined or fixed by law; as, the capacity to devise, to bequeath, to grant or convey lands; to take; or to take. and hold lands to make a contract, and the like. 2 Com. Dig. 294; Dane's Abr. h. t.

2. The constitution requires that the president, senators, and representatives should have attained certain ages; and in the case of the senators and representatives, that out these they have no capacity to serve in these offices.

3. All laws which regulate the capacity of persons to contract, are considered personal laws; such are the laws which relate to minority and majority; to the powers of guardians or parents, or the disabilities of coverture. The law of the domicil generally governs in cases of this kind. Burge. on Sureties, 89.
-- Bouviers Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
Legal capacity Is the attribute of a person who can acquire new rights or transfer rights or assume duties, according to the mere dictates of his own will, as manifested in juristic acts, without any restraint or hindrance arising from his status or legal condition. Ability; qualification; legal power or right. Applied in this sense to the attribute of persons (natural or artificial) growing out of their status or juristic condition, which enables them to perform civil acts; as capacity to hold lands, capacity to devise, etc. Bur-gett v. Barrick, 25 Kan. 530; Sargent v. Bur-dett, 96 Ga. Ill, 22 S. E. 667.
-- Black's Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
Legal qualification; authority; competency.
-- Ballentine's Law Dictionary