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Legal Dictionary

parens patriae

Legal Definition of parens patriae

Etymology

    Latin Origin

Latin phrase

  1. A British common law creation whereby the courts have the right to make unfettered decisions concerning people who are not able to take care of themselves. For example, court can make custody decisions regarding a child or an insane person, even without statute law to allow them to do so, based on their residual, common law-based parens patriae jurisdiction.

Definition of parens patriae

Further reading

Parens patriae is Latin for "parent of the nation." In law, it refers to the public policy power of the state to intervene against an abusive or negligent parent, legal guardian or informal caretaker, and to act as the parent of any child or individual who is in need of protection. For example, some children, incapacitated individuals, and disabled individuals lack parents who are able and willing to render adequate care, requiring state intervention. In U.S. litigation, parens patriae can be invoked by the state to create its standing to sue; the state declares itself to be suing on behalf of its people. For example, the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvement Act of 1976 (15 USC 15(c)), through Section 4C of the Clayton Act, permits state attorneys general to bring parens patriae suits on behalf of those injured by violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

References:

  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.



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