What is Notice?

Legal Definition
Notice is the legal concept describing a requirement that a party be aware of legal process affecting their rights, obligations or duties. There are several types of notice: public notice (or legal notice), actual notice, constructive notice, and implied notice.
-- Wikipedia
Legal Definition
The Due Process clauses of the United States Constitution prohibit courts from hearing a case that could adversely affect a party's interest unless that party has been given proper notice. To satisfy this notice requirement, notice must be reasonably calculated, under the circumstances, to inform all interested parties that a lawsuit is pending and that it could adverse affect their interests.

The degree of required notice varies depending on what type of jurisdiction a court intends to exercise. To exercise in personam jurisdiction, in-hand service of process is usually required. For in rem actions, which can affect the interests of anyone in the world, the plaintiff usually must inform all known parties of interest by a reasonably reliable means, and may then inform the rest of the world by "notice by publication" - purchasing a notice in a local newspaper multiple times over a period of several weeks. In tricky cases, courts work with plaintiffs to identify the best way of meeting notice requirements.

Notice is not a mere formality, as the Supreme Court recently discussed in Jones v. Flowers. In Jones v. Flowers, a state seized and sold property for unpaid property taxes. A certified letter meant to notify the owner of the impending sale was returned to the state as "unclaimed." Afterwards, the state made no additional attempt to contact the owner directly. The Court rejected the state's notice as insufficient, emphasizing that notice “must be such as one desirous of actually informing the absentee might reasonably adopt to accomplish it."

Because of the constitutional importance of insuring proper notice, courts will not forgive improper notice even where a party receives actual notice.

See Civil Procedure; Notice in eviction proceedings.
Legal Definition
The information given of some act done, or the interpellation by which some act is required to be done. It also signifies, simply, knowledge; as A had notice that B was a slave. 5 How. S. C. Rep. 216; 7 Penn. Law Journ. 119.

2. Notices should always be in writing; they should state, in precise terms, their object, and be signed by the proper person, or his authorized agent, be dated, and ad- dressed to the person to be affected by them.

3. Notices are actual, as when they are directly given to the party to be affected by them; or constructive, as when the party by any circumstance whatever, is put upon inquiry, which amounts in judgment of law to notice, provided the, inquiry becomes a duty. Vide 2 Pow. Mortg. 561 to .662; 2 Stark. Ev. 987; 1 Phil. Ev. Index, b. t.; 1 Vern. 364, n.; 4 Kent, Com. 172; 16 Vin. Ab. 2; 2 Supp. to Ves. jr. 250; Grah. Pr. Index, h. t.; Chit. PI. Index, h. t.; 2 Mason, 531; 14 Pick. 224; 4 N. H. ]Rep. 397; 14 S. & R. 333; Bouv. Inst. In- dex, h. t.

4. With respect to the necessity for giving notice, says Mr. Chitty, 1 Pr. 496, the rules of law are most evidently founded on good sense and so as to accord with the intention of the parties. The giving notice in certain cases obviously is in the nature of a condition precedent to the right to call on the other party for the performance of his engagement, wbether his contract were express or implied. Thus, in the familiar instance of bills of exchange and promis- sory notes, the implied contract of an in- dorser is, that be will pay the bill or note, provided it be not paid, on presentment at maturity, by the acceptor or maker, (being the party primarily liable, and provided that he (the endorser) has due notice of the dishonor, and without which be is discharged from all liability; consequently, it is essen- tial for the holder to be prepared to prove affirmatively that such notice was given, or some facts dispensing with such notice.

5. Whenever the defendant's liability to perform an act depends on another oc- currence, which is best known to the plain- tiff, and of which the defendant is not legally bound to take notice, the plaintiff must prove that due notice, was in fact given. So in cases of insurances on ships, a notice of abandonment. is frequently ne- cessary to enable the assured plaintiff. to proceed as for a total lose when sometbing remains to be saved, in relation to which, upon notice, the in-surers might themselves take their own measures.

6. To avoid doubt or ambiguity in the terms of the notice, it may be advisable to give it in writing, and to preserve evidence of its delivery, as in the case of notices of the dishonor of a bill.

7. The form of the notice may be as subscribed, but it must necessarily vary in its terms according to the circumstances of each case. So, in order to entitle a party to insist upon a strict and exact perform- ance of a contract on the fixed day for completing it, and a fortiori to retain a deposit as forfeited, a reasonable notice must be given of the intention to insist on a precise performance, or be will be consi- dered as having waived such strict right. So if a lessee or a purchaser be sued for the recovery of the estate, and he have a remedy over against a third person, upon a covenant of quiet enjoyment, it is expe- dient (although not absolutely necessary) referring to such covenant.
-- Bouviers Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
Knowledge; information; the result of observation, whether by the senses or the mind; knowledge of the existence of a fact or state of affairs; the means of knowledge. Used in this sense in such phrases as "A. had notice of the conversion," "a purchaser without notice of fraud," etc. Notice is either

(1) statutory, i. e., made so by legislative enactment;

(2) actual, which brings the knowledge of a fact directly home to the party; or

(3) constructive or implied, which is no more than evidence of facts which raise such a strong presumption of notice that equity will not allow the presumption to be rebutted. Constructive notice may be subdivided into: (a) Where there exists acinal notice of matter, to whffch equity has added constructive notice of facts, which an inquiry after such matter would have elicited ; and (b) where there has been a designed abstinence from inquiry for the very purpose of escaping notice. Wharton. In another sense, "nofice" means ihfor-mation of an act to be done or required to be done; as of a motion to be made, a trial to be had, a plea or answer to be put in, costs to be taxed, etc. In this sense, "notice" means an advice, or written warning, in more or less formal shape, intended to apprise a person of some proceeding in which his interests are involved, or informing him of some fact which it is his right to know and the duty of the notifying party to communicate. Classification. Notice is actual or constructive. Actual notice is notice expressly and actually given, and brought home to the party directly, in distinction from notice inferred or imputed by the law on acount of the existence of means of knowledge. Jordan v. Pollock, 14 Ga. 145; Johnson v. Dooly, 72 Ga. 297; Morey v. Milliken, 86 Me. 464, 30 Atl. 102; McCray v. Clar, 82 Pa. 457; Briokman v. Jones, 44 Wis. 498; White v. Fisher, 77 Ind. 65, 40 Am. Rep. 287; Clark v. Lambert, 55 W. Va. 512, 47 S. E. 312. Constructive notice is information or knowledge of a fact imputed by law to a person, (although he may not actually have it,) because he could have discovered the fact by proper diligence, and his situation was such as to cast upon him the duty of inquiring into it. Baltimore v. Whittington, 78 Md. 231, 27 Atl. 984; Wells v. Sheerer, 78 Ala. 142; Jordan v. Pollock, 14 Ga. 145; Jackson v. Waldstein (Tex. Civ. App.) 27 S. W. 26; Acer v. Westcott, 46 N. Y. 384, 7 Am. Rep. 355. Further as to the distinction between actual and constructive notice, see Baltimore v. Whittington, 78 Md. 23l, 27 All. 984; Thomas v. Flint, 123 Mich. 10, 81 N. W. 936, 47 L. R. A. 499; Vaughn v. Tracy, 22 Mo. 420. Notice is also further classified as empress or implied. Express notice embraces not only knowledge, but alao that which is communicated by direct information, either written or oral, from those who are cognizant of the fact communicated. Baltimore v. Whittington, 78 Md. 231, 27 Atl. 984. Implied notice is one of the varieties of actual notice (not constructive) and is distinguished from "express" actual notice. It is notice inferred or imputed to a party by reason of his knowledge of facts or circumstances collateral to the main fact, of such a character as to put him upon inquiry, and which, if the inquiry were followed up with due diligence, would lead him definitely to the knowledge of the main fact Rhodes v. Outcalt, 48 Mo. 370; Baltimore v. Whittington, 78 Md. 231, 27 Atl. 984; Wells v. Sheerer, 78 Ala. 147. Or as otherwise defined, implied nolice may be said to exist where the fact in question lies open to the knowledge of the party, so that the exercise of reasonable observation and watcbfulnss would not fail to apprise him of it, although no one has told him of it in so many words. See Philadelphia v. Smith (Pa.) 16 Atl. 493. Other compound and descriptive terms.
See also
-- Black's Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
Direct information of a fact or a knowledge of circumstances that ought to induce suspicion of belief. See 62 Am. Dec. 320, note.
-- Ballentine's Law Dictionary