im·pos·si·bil·i·ty n pl -ties
1: the quality or state of being impossible; also: the affirmative defense that something (as performance) is impossible
2: something impossible
fac·tu·al impossibility: impossibility based on factual circumstances; specif: a partial defense to criminal liability based on the incompletion of an intended criminal act
◇ Factual impossibility is not a complete defense and does allow prosecution for attempt or for another inchoate offense. For example, if the defendant constructed a bomb that failed to explode, factual impossibility would be a defense against murder charges, but not attempted murder.
impossibility of per·for·mance
1: a doctrine in contract law that a party may be released from liability for breach of contract for failing to perform an obligation that is rendered impossible by uncontrollable circumstances (as death or failure of the means of delivery)
2: a defense to breach of contract or a basis for release from contractual obligations because of impossibility of performance compare frustration, impracticability
le·gal impossibility: impossibility based on or with reference to a law; specif: a complete defense to criminal liability based on the commitment of acts that are not criminal or illegal
◇ Legal impossibility is founded on the principle that an act is not a crime unless there is a law prohibiting it.

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law. . 1996.

I noun difficulty, failure, futility, hopelessness, impossibleness, impracticability, impracticality, inaccessibility, inconceivability, infeasibility, inoperability, insuperability, insuperableness, insurmountability, lack of possibility, lack of potentiality, unachievability, unattainability, unfeasibility, unattainable, unavailability, unobtainability, unobtainableness, unperformability, unpracticability, unthinkability, unworkability associated concepts: frustration of purpose, impossibility of performance, legal impossibility, rescission, supervening impossibility foreign phrases:
- Lex non intendk allquld impossibile. — The law does not intend anything impossible.
- Lex non cogit ad impossibilia. — The law does not require the performance of the impossible
- Impotentia excusat legem. — The impossibility of performing a legal duty excuses from the performance
- A l'impossible nul n'est tenu. — No one is bound to do what is impossible
- Argumentum ab impossibili valet in lege. — The argument from impossibility is of great force in law.
- Impossibilium nulla obligatio est. — One cannot be obliged to perform impossible tasks
II index impasse, improbability

Burton's Legal Thesaurus. . 2006

A situation that makes it impossible to do something; circumstances that make it impossible to perform a contract, such as the destruction of something necessary to the performance or the death of one of the parties, which relieves a party of his or her duty to perform under the contract.
impossible See also impracticable

The Essential Law Dictionary. — Sphinx Publishing, An imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. . 2008.

When an act cannot be performed due to physical impediments, nature, or unforeseen events. It can be a legitimate basis to rescind (mutually cancel) a contract.
Category: Representing Yourself in Court
Category: Small Claims Court & Lawsuits

Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary. . 2009.

n. The condition of being unable to happen or to be achieved.
@ factual impossibility
Of an act that cannot physically be done.
@ legal impossibility
In criminal law, a defense to charges on the basis that the acts committed were not illegal. In civil law, an act which is impossible by operation of law or rule, such as an attempt by a minor to enter into a binding contract.
=>> impossibility.

Webster's New World Law Dictionary. . 2000.

A legal excuse or defense to an action for the breach of a contract; less frequently, a defense to a criminal charge of an attempted crime, such as attempted robbery or murder.

Dictionary from West's Encyclopedia of American Law. 2005.

A legal excuse or defense to an action for the breach of a contract; less frequently, a defense to a criminal charge of an attempted crime, such as attempted robbery or murder.

Short Dictionary of (mostly American) Legal Terms and Abbreviations.

   when an act cannot be performed due to nature, physical impediments or unforeseen events. It can be a legitimate basis to rescind (mutually cancel) a contract.
   See also: contract

Law dictionary. . 2013.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Impossibility — Im*pos si*bil i*ty, n.; pl. {Impossibilities}. [L. impossibilitas: cf. F. impossibilit[ e].] 1. The quality of being impossible; impracticability. [1913 Webster] They confound difficulty with impossibility. South. [1913 Webster] 2. An impossible… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • impossibility — (n.) late 14c., quality of being impossible, from IMPOSSIBLE (Cf. impossible) + ITY (Cf. ity); perhaps from or modeled on Fr. impossibilité. Meaning an impossible thing or occurrence is from c.1500 …   Etymology dictionary

  • impossibility — [im päs΄ə bil′i tē] n. [OFr impossibilite < LL impossibilitas] 1. the fact or quality of being impossible 2. pl. impossibilities something impossible …   English World dictionary

  • Impossibility — (Roget s Thesaurus) < N PARAG:Impossibility >N GRP: N 1 Sgm: N 1 impossibility impossibility &c. >Adj. Sgm: N 1 what cannot what cannot what can never be Sgm: N 1 sour grapes sour grapes Sgm: N 1 hopelessness hopelessness &c. 859 P …   English dictionary for students

  • impossibility — That which, in the constitution and course of nature or the law, no person can do or perform. Impossibility is of the following several sorts: An act is physically impossible when it is contrary to the course of nature. Such an impossibility may… …   Black's law dictionary

  • impossibility — UK [ɪmˌpɒsəˈbɪlətɪ] / US [ɪmˌpɑsəˈbɪlətɪ] noun [countable/uncountable] Word forms impossibility : singular impossibility plural impossibilities the fact of being impossible, or something that is impossible to do Working from home would be an… …   English dictionary

  • Impossibility — In contract law, impossibility is an excuse for the nonperformance of duties under a contract, based on a change in circumstances (or the discovery of preexisting circumstances), the nonoccurrence of which was an underlying assumption of the… …   Wikipedia

  • impossibility — im|pos|si|bil|i|ty [ ım,pasə bıləti ] noun count or uncount the fact of being impossible, or something that is impossible to do: Working from home would be an impossibility. the impossibility of finding suitable work …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • impossibility — That which is impossible. See impossibility of performance; impossible; physical impossibility …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • impossibility — noun a) Something that is impossible. Meeting the deadline is an impossibility; there is no way we can be ready in time. b) The quality of being impossible …   Wiktionary

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