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Capacity

The ability, capability, or fitness to do something; a legal right, power, or competency to perform some act. An ability to comprehend both the nature and consequences of one's acts.

Capacity relates to soundness of mind and to an intelligent understanding and perception of one's actions. It is the power either to create or to enter into a legal relation under the same conditions or circumstances as a person of sound mind or normal intelligence would have the power to create or to enter.

A person of normal intelligence and sound mind has the capacity to dispose of his or her property by will as he or she sees fit.

A capacity defense is used in both criminal and civil actions to describe a lack of fundamental ability to be accountable for one's action that nullifies the element of intent when intent is essential to the action, thereby relieving a person of responsibility for it.

An individual under duress lacks the capacity to contract; a child under the age of seven accused of committing a crime lacks criminal capacity.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Bryan Treaties (Bryan Arbitration Treaties) to James Earl Carter Jr. - Further Readings