• 1[attributive] Relating to the law.

    ‘the European legal system’
    • ‘The meeting was adjourned for more than half-an-hour with the public excluded while the panel sought legal advice over the claim.’
    • ‘Over the past two years, a weekly drop-in centre with access to legal advice and translation services has been set up at a local community centre.’
    • ‘Many lenders give incentives to switchers, such as help with valuation fees and legal expenses.’
    • ‘Texas's public defence system which provides legal advice for those who can't afford it, is notorious for its abysmal standards.’
    • ‘The failure of our legal system to take this question seriously in any systematic way is troubling.’
    • ‘Please note that advice is given without legal responsibility’
    • ‘But he has ended up with thousands of pounds worth of legal fees.’
    • ‘After further legal advice, the council chief executive, David Atkinson, agreed the motion could be discussed.’
    • ‘Mrs Collins has lodged an official complaint with the firm and is considering seeking legal advice.’
    • ‘‘We will take legal advice but the appeal process can be very lengthy and expensive,’ he said.’
    • ‘That is a difficult question, and its difficulty results from a deep ambiguity in our legal system.’
    • ‘But Finnie rejected both calls by quoting the legal advice he had been given by Scottish Executive civil servants.’
    • ‘When he got sued a few years ago, he invited people to contribute to his legal fees by sending him some personal details and some money, and he would write a song about them.’
    • ‘This was no doubt the expensive legal advice it was given.’
    • ‘The legal system is based on modified Roman law, with strong protection for the rights of the accused.’
    • ‘The paper presents several such studies, some of which have direct bearing on the legal system.’
    • ‘He declined to name them but said he advised the officials to seek legal advice and to speak with their insurers.’
    • ‘Regulars in a Westbury pub are backing a landlord's bid to overturn the decision to revoke his late licence by contributing towards legal fees.’
    • ‘Ms Ray, 53, is now seeking legal advice with a view to seeking compensation from Channel 4 and Ramsay.’
    • ‘Peter Ball, who represents residents in the Blackfriars area, strongly denies the claims and has sought legal advice.’
    judiciary, juridical, judicatory, forensic, jurisdictive
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Appointed or required by the law.
      ‘a legal requirement’
      • ‘As for the legal requirements a Specialised Bureau for Customers Identification was established with the bank.’
      • ‘The only way to encourage such a process is raising the legal requirement for the size of banks' capital.’
      • ‘These companies have a legal requirement to tell us they are meeting quality standards.’
      • ‘You should get your independent contractor agreement in writing, although that is not a legal requirement.’
      • ‘He says Walmex simply keeps the contracts on hand to meet legal requirements.’
      • ‘He said he had complied at all times with the Commissions' legal requirements.’
      • ‘Complaints requiring legal action will be forwarded to the Ministry of Justice.’
      • ‘All farms registered under the scheme must reach and maintain a level of compliance which far exceeds the legal requirements.’
      • ‘There is no legal requirement to register as a charity, nor is any agency charged with maintaining such a register.’
      • ‘There is no legal requirement to do so as the firms cannot avail of limited liability status.’
      • ‘The way in which legal requirements hinder police getting the job done may be another.’
      • ‘It is a legal requirement that all competitors and their boatmen wear a life jacket.’
      • ‘The draft laws also impose stricter legal and administrative requirements for new parties to be eligible for the elections.’
      • ‘But Mrs Rutins said it was a legal requirement for all councillors to be supplied with the correct information.’
      • ‘Sofia City Court denied the newly formed movement party registration on grounds of failure to meet legal requirements.’
      • ‘The other vehicles in its fleet do not meet the legal requirements and in effect should not be allowed on the road.’
      • ‘Once that decision is made, airlines will then have a year to put their houses in order, before the new legal requirements come into force.’
      • ‘Oh sure, it's a legal requirement for someone such as me who is a contractor.’
      • ‘Presently car owners have the right to go where they please, even into the centre of York provided they and their vehicles meet legal requirements.’
      • ‘They claim its contrary to the trust's legal requirements.’
      judicial, juridical, jurisdictive, judicatory, forensic
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Law Recognized by common or statute law, as distinct from equity.
      • ‘26 Women were more likely to turn to equity courts than common law ones for legal resolution.’
      • ‘It's crazy to argue that we're ever going to get significant legal change from common law courts.’
      • ‘Any moral distinction between the two modes is surely too slender to justify legal recognition.’
      • ‘Certainly, the appellant does not bear any moral, as distinct from legal, responsibility for what occurred.’
      • ‘It also enables legal recognition to be given to a broad range of family structures and relationships.’
    3. 1.3Relating to theological legalism.
      • ‘Is is legal to work by healing on the Sabbath day?’
      • ‘The Torah comprises the first five books and contains a mixture of narratives and legal texts.’
  • 2Permitted by law.

    ‘he claimed that it had all been legal’
    • ‘In other words, the big killers in Scotland are the legal drugs - tobacco and alcohol.’
    • ‘Researchers told a group of top athletes they were taking a legal drug that is known to boost performance and allow them to run faster.’
    • ‘Alcohol is, of course, a legal and socially acceptable drug, even though it may actually be more harmful to the body than some of the illegal drugs.’
    • ‘It is a legal drug and it can be used as a substitute for heroin.’
    • ‘For example, an official resident permit is still required for legal residence and work in Moscow.’
    • ‘He says one of the main aims in producing the pills was to provide people with a safe and legal alternative to illegal drugs.’
    • ‘Prozac is legal as a controlled drug given on prescription for depression.’
    • ‘Can someone explain to me why on earth an institution of higher learning is involved in the peddling of the last legal drug?’
    • ‘When we debated the legalisation of drugs, he sai that he believed all drugs should be legal.’
    • ‘I talk to a Bronx priest who argues that life would be better if drugs were legal.’
    • ‘I guess it's something about the combination of low taxes and legal drugs that strikes their fancy.’
    • ‘The same applies to illicit drug use or dangerous levels of consumption of alcohol or legal mood-altering drugs.’
    • ‘Is it legal to sell prescription drugs through multi-level marketing?’
    • ‘Many were introduced to alcohol, legal and illegal drugs at tender ages.’
    • ‘The number of workers required for a legal strike to go ahead is often too high.’
    • ‘The government have the proof of the dangers of smoking, yet this is a legal drug.’
    • ‘He contends the rules for marijuana should be the same as for legal drugs and should place the onus on the individual.’
    • ‘Until the late 19th century, all kinds of recreational drugs were legal throughout the Western world.’
    • ‘By far the most dangerous drugs are legal, with alcohol and tobacco, accounting for 150,000 deaths every year.’
    • ‘Who would have thought legal drugs could ever be so dangerous?’
    lawful, legitimate, licit, within the law, legalized, valid
    View synonyms
  • 3US Denoting a size of paper that measures 22 × 35.5 cm (8.5 × 14 inches)

    ‘a yellow legal pad’
    • ‘When he saw something of note, he scrawled it on a folded up piece of yellow legal paper he kept in his coat pocket.’
    • ‘Sudler handed Mr Cool a sheet of yellow legal paper and sauntered out.’
    • ‘The deed was on posh legal paper.’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘to do with Mosaic law’): from French, or from Latin legalis, from lex, leg- law. Compare with loyal.