The Meaning of Legal Status Words
The law knows a number of words that stand for a particular status to which legal consequences are attached, but which has, apart from these legal consequences, no clear standing. These words include – for Dutch law – ‘right holder’, ‘owner’, ‘mayor’, and ‘criminal suspect’. They differ – again for Dutch law – from other words such as ‘obligation’, which stands for a combination of a legal duty and a corresponding claim right, and ‘sanction’ which stands for a punishment or protective measure imposed by a judicial verdict.1 The difference between legal status words and these last words is that in the latter case it is possible to specify their denotation by means of their application conditions, while that is not possible in case of legal status words. A criminal suspect is not a person against whom a reasonable suspicion exists of being an offender, or against whom criminal prosecution has been opened. Being a criminal suspect is rather a status which arises or perishes on particular grounds, to which a number of legal consequences are attached, and about which from a legal perspective not very much more can be said.
KeywordsLegal Status Natural Kind Social Reality Legal Consequence Criminal Prosecution
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