As a legal term, this word has many meanings and applications, the most important of which are set forth below:
Bill of Rights.
A formal and emphatic legislative assertion and declaration of popular rights and liberties usually promulgated upon a change of government; e.g. the famous Bill of Rights of 1688 in English history.
Also the summary of the rights and liberties of the people, or of the principles of constitutional law deemed essential and fundamental, contained in many of the American state constitutions. Hamill v. Hawks, C.C.A. Okl., 58 F.2d 41, 47.
That portion of Constitution guaranteeing rights and privileges to the individual; i.e. first ten Amendments of U.S. Constitution.
Commercial transactions.
A written statement of the terms of a contract, or specification of the items of a transaction or of a demand.
Also, a general name for any item of indebtedness, whether receivable or payable; an account for goods sold, services rendered, or work done. As a verb, as generally and customarily used in commercial transactions, "bill" is synonymous with "charge" or "invoice." George M. Jones Co. v. Canadian Nat. R. Co., D.C.Mich., 14 F.2d 852, 855.
- maritime law
The draft of a proposed law from the time of its introduction in a legislative body through all the various stages in both houses. Once introduced, a federal bill may be considered in any session of a Congress, but it dies at the end of a session, and it must be reintroduced as a new bill if a succeeding Congress is to consider it. The form of a proposed law before it is enacted into law by vote of the legislative body. An "Act" is the appropriate term for it after it has been acted on by, and passed by, the legislature.
See also marking up
Commercial paper.
A promissory obligation for the payment of money
In mercantile law, a license or authority given in writing from one person to another, very common among merchants, bankers, and those who travel, empowering a person to receive or take up money of their correspondents abroad.
An obligation; a deed, whereby the obligor acknowledges himself to owe to the obligee a certain sum of money or some other thing
Equity pleading and practice.
The initial pleading of plaintiff or petitioner in equity action in contrast to declaration (complaint) in law actions. Under Rules of Civil Procedure, however, bill has been replaced by complaint for both equitable and legal actions because of merger of law and equity. Fed.R. Civil P. 2.
In England, in the ancient practice of the court of king's bench, the usual and orderly method of beginning an action was by a bill, or original bill, or plaint. This was a written statement of the plaintiffs cause of action, like a declaration or complaint, and always alleged a trespass as the ground of it, in order to give the court jurisdiction. 3 Bl.Comm. 43
Negotiable instruments.
@ bill-book
A book in which an account of bills of exchange and promissory notes, whether payable or receivable, is stated
@ bill-head
A printed form on which merchants and traders make out their bills and render accounts to their customers
@ bill of parcels
@ parcels, bill of
An account of the items composing a parcel or package of goods, transmitted with them to the purchaser. See, Bill of parcels under Bill
A statement sent to the buyer of goods, along with the goods, exhibiting in detail the items composing the parcel and their several prices, to enable him to detect any mistake or omission; an invoice (q.v.)
@ bill of sale
In contracts, a written agreement, formerly limited to one under seal, by which one person assigns or transfers his right to or interest in goods and personal chattels to another. Legal document which conveys title from seller to buyer
@ bill payable
In a merchant's accounts, all bills which he has accepted, and promissory notes which he has made, are called "bills payable," and are entered in a ledger account under that name, and recorded in a book bearing the same title.
@ bill receivable
In a merchant's accounts, all notes, drafts, checks, etc., payable to him, or of which he is to receive the proceeds at a future date, are called "bills receivable," and are entered in a ledger-account under that name, and also noted in a book bearing the same title.
@ bill rendered
A bill of items rendered by a creditor to his debtor; an "account rendered," as distinguished from "an account stated."
@ grand bill of sale
In old English law, the name of an instrument used for the transfer of a ship while she is at sea. An expression which is understood to refer to the instrument whereby a ship was originally transferred from the builder to the owner, or first purchaser.
@ bill broker
Middleman who negotiates purchase or sale of commercial paper
@ bill of credit
A bill or promissory note issued by the government, upon its faith and credit, designed to circulate in the community as money.
@ bill of exchange
An unconditional order in writing addressed by one person to another, signed by the person giving it, requiring the person to whom it is addressed to pay on demand or at a fixed or determinable future time a sum certain in money. A three party instrument in which first party draws an order for the payment of a sum certain on a second party for payment to a third party at a definite future time. Same as "draft" under U.C.C.
A check is a demand bill of exchange.
See also advance bill
- clean bill
- time (time bill).
@ foreign bill of exchange
A bill of exchange drawn in one country upon another country not governed by the same homogeneous laws, or not governed throughout by the same municipal laws. A bill of exchange drawn in one of the United States upon a person residing in another state is a foreign bill.
See also bill of exchange
+ foreign bill of exchange
Bill of exchange which is drawn in one state or country and payable in another state or country.
See also bill (bill of exchange)
@ bill of costs
A certified, itemized statement of the amount of costs in an action or suit
@ bill of evidence
Stenographer's transcript of testimony heard at trial which may be considered on appeal as bill of exceptions. Spencer v. Commonwealth, 250 Ky. 370, 63 S.W.2d 288
@ bill of exceptions
A formal statement in writing of the objections or exceptions taken by a party during the trial of a cause to the decisions, rulings, or instructions of the trial judge, stating the objection, with the facts and circumstances on which it is founded, and, in order to attest its accuracy, signed by the judge; the object being to put the controverted rulings or decisions upon the record for the information of the appellate court.
Bills of exceptions have been eliminated in civil appeals in jurisdictions which have adopted Rules of Civil Procedure tracking Fed.Rules of Civil Proc. in favor of a straight appeal with no need to claim exception after making objection at trial; e.g. Mass.R.Civ. Proc. 46
@ bill of particulars
A written statement or specification of the particulars of the demand for which an action at law is brought, or of a defendant's set-off against such demand (including dates, sums, and items in detail), furnished by one of the parties to the other, either voluntarily or in compliance with a judge's order for that purpose. It is designed to aid the defendant in interposing the proper answer and in preparing for trial, by giving him detailed information regarding the cause of action stated in the complaint.
See e.g. New York CPLR No. 3041 et seq.
In jurisdictions which have adopted Rules of Civil Procedure, the bill of particulars has been replaced by various discovery devices (Fed.R. Civil P. 26 et seq.) and by motion for more definite statement (Fed.R. Civil P. 12(e)).
See however criminal law, below, with respect to bill of particulars in criminal cases.
bill of particulars 2.
Form or means of discovery in which the prosecution sets forth the time, place, manner and means of the commission of the crime as alleged in complaint or indictment. It is one method available to defendant to secure default of charge against him. Fed.R.Crim.P. 7.
The purpose of a "bill of particulars" is to give notice to the accused of the offenses charged in the bill of indictment so that he may prepare a defense, avoid surprise, or intelligently raise pleas of double jeopardy and the bar of the statute of limitations. Com. v. Mervin, 230 Pa.Super. 552, 326 A.2d 602, 605.
@ bill obligatory
A bond absolute for the payment of money. It is called also a "single bill," and differs from a promissory note only in having a seal.
See bill penal
@ bill of debt
An ancient term including promissory notes and bonds for the payment of money
@ bill penal
A written obligation by which a debtor acknowledges himself indebted in a certain sum, and binds himself for the payment thereof, in a larger sum, called a "penalty." Bonds with conditions have superseded such bills in modern practice. They are sometimes called bills obligatory, and'are properly so called; but every bill obligatory is not a bill penal
@ bill single
A written promise to pay to a person or persons named a stated sum at a stated time, without any condition. When under seal, it is sometimes called a "bill obligatory" (q.v.). It differs from a "bill penal" (q.v.) in that it expresses no penalty.
@ bill of indictment
A formal written document accusing a person or persons named of having committed a felony or misdemeanor, lawfully laid before a grand jury (usually by prosecutor) for their action upon it.
@ bill for a new trial
A bill in equity in which the specific relief asked is an injunction against the execution of a judgment rendered at law, and a new trial in the action on account of some fact which would render it inequitable to enforce the judgment, but which was not available to the party on the trial at law, or which he was prevented from presenting by fraud or accident, without concurrent fraud or negligence on his own part. Superseded by motion for new trial in jurisdictions with Rules of Civil Procedure (Rule 59)
@ bill for foreclosure
One which is filed by a mortgagee against the mortgagor, for the purpose of having the estate sold, thereby to obtain the sum mortgaged on the premises, with interest and costs
@ bill in aid of execution
A bill to set aside encumbrances or conveyances therein specified as fraudulent. Pape v. Pareti, 315 Ill.App. 1, 42 N.E.2d 361, 364
@ bill in nature of a bill of review
A bill in equity, to obtain a re-examination and reversal of a decree, filed by one who was not a party to the original suit, nor bound by the decree.
@ bill in nature of a bill of revivor
Where, on the abatement of a suit, there is such a transmission of the interest of the incapacitated party that the title to it, as well as the person entitled, may be the subject of litigation in a court of chancery, the suit cannot be continued by a mere bill of revivor, but an original bill upon which the title may be litigated must be filed. This is called a "bill in the nature of a bill of revivor." It is founded on privity of estate or title by the act of the party. And the nature and operation of the whole act by which the privity is created is open to controversy
@ bill in nature of a supplemental bill
A bill filed when new parties, with new interests, arising from events happening since the suit was commenced, are brought before the court; such differs from a supplemental bill, which is properly applicable to those cases only where the same parties or the same interests remain before the court
@ bill in nature of interpleader
See bill of interpleader, below
@ bill of certiorari
A bill, the object of which is to remove a suit in equity from some inferior court to the court of chancery, or some other superior court of equity, on account of some alleged incompetency of the inferior court, or some injustice in its proceedings. As an appellate vehicle, it has been replaced by appeal in jurisdictions which have adopted Rules of Appellate Procedure in civil cases.
@ bill of conformity
One filed by an executor or administrator, who finds the affairs of the deceased so much involved that he cannot safely administer the estate except under the direction of a court of chancery. This bill is filed against the creditors, generally, for the purpose of having all their claims adjusted, and procuring a final decree settling the order of payment of the assets
@ discovery, bill of
@ bill of discovery
A proceeding by a party against an adversary for discovery of facts within adversary's knowledge, or discovery of documents, writings, or other things within his possession or power, to be used either offensively or defensively in a pending or contemplated action. In aid of action at law is equitable remedy to enable litigant to obtain, prior to trial, such information as is in exclusive possession of adverse party and is necessary to establishment of complainant's case.
Superseded by discovery rules in jurisdictions that have adopted Fed.Rules of Civil Proc. (Rules 26-37)
+ bill of discovery
In equity pleading, a bill for the discovery of facts resting in the knowledge of the defendant, or of deeds or writings, or other things in his custody or power; but seeking no relief in consequence of the discovery, though it may pray for a stay of proceedings at law until the discovery is made
@ bill of information
In England, where a suit is instituted on behalf of the crown or government, or of those of whom it has the custody by virtue of its prerogative, or whose rights are under its particular protection, the matter of complaint is offered to the court by way of information by the attorney or solicitor general, instead of by petition. Where a suit immediately concerns the crown or government alone, the proceeding is purely by way of information, but, where it does not do so immediately, a relator is appointed, who is answerable for costs, etc., and, if he is interested in the matter in connection with the crown or government, the proceeding is by information and bill. Informations differ from bills in little more than name and form, and the same rules are substantially applicable to both. 3 Bl.Comm. 261
@ bill of interpleader
The name of a bill in equity to obtain a settlement of a question of right to money or other property adversely claimed, in which the party filing the bill has no interest, although it may be in his hands, by compelling such adverse claimants to litigate the right or title between themselves, and relieve him from liability or litigation. Superseded by Rule 22, "Interpleader," in those jurisdictions that have adopted Rules of Civil Procedure.
@ bill of peace
One which is filed when a person has a right which may be controverted by various persons, at different times, and by different actions
@ bill of review
Proceeding in equity brought for purpose of reversing or correcting prior judgment of trial court after such judgment has become final and is no longer appealable or subject to motion for new trial. Rogers v. Searle, Tex.Civ.App., 533 S.W.2d 433, 437.
It is in the nature of a writ of error. A "bill of review," or a bill in the nature of a bill of review, are of three classes; those for error appearing on the face of the record, those for newly discovered evidence, and those for fraud impeaching the original transaction. Such bills are peculiar to courts of equity. In states where Rules of Civil Procedure are applicable, such bill is replaced by motion for relief from judgment or order (Rule 60)
+ bill of review
In equity practice, a bill, in the nature of a writ of error, filed to procure an examination and alteration or reversal of a decree made upon a former bill, which decree has been signed and enrolled.
See also bill
@ bill of revivor and supplement
One which is a compound of a supplemental bill and bill of revivor, and not only continues the suit, which has abated by the death of the plaintiff, or the like, but supplies any defects in the original bill arising from subsequent events, so as to entitle the party to relief on the whole merits of his case
@ bill quia timet
A bill invoking the aid of equity "because he fears," that is, because the complainant apprehends an injury to his property rights or interests, from the fault or neglect of another. Such bills are entertained to guard against possible or prospective injuries, and to preserve the means by which existing rights may be protected from future or contingent violations; differing from injunctions, in that the latter correct past and present or imminent and certain injuries. De Carli v. O'Brien, 150 Or. 35, 41 P.2d 411, 416
See also quia timet
@ bill to carry a decree into execution
One which is filed when, from the neglect of parties or some other cause, it may become impossible to carry a decree into execution without the further decree of the court
@ bill to perpetuate testimony
A bill in equity filed in order to procure the testimony of witnesses to be taken as to some matter not at the time before the courts, but which is likely at some future time to be in litigation. Superseded by Rule of Civil Procedure 27
@ bill to quiet possession and title
Also called a bill to remove a cloud on title (q.v.), and though sometimes classed with bills quia timet or for the cancellation of void instruments, they may be resorted to in other cases when the complainant's title is clear and there is a cloud to be removed
@ bill to suspend a decree
One brought to avoid or suspend a decree under special circumstances
@ bill to take testimony de bene esse
One which is brought to take the testimony of witnesses to a fact material to the prosecution of a suit at law which is actually commenced, where there is good cause to fear that the testimony may otherwise be lost before the time of trial. Superseded by Rule of Civil Procedure 27.
@ cross-bill
One which is brought by a defendant in a suit against a plaintiff in or against other defendants in the same suit, or against both, touching the matters in question in the original bill. It is a bill brought by a defendant against a plaintiff, or other parties in a former bill depending, touching the matter in question in that bill.
It is usually brought either to obtain a necessary discovery of facts in aid of the defense to the original bill, or to obtain full relief to all parties in reference to the matters of the original bill. It is to be treated as a mere auxiliary suit. A species of pleading, used for the purpose of obtaining a discovery necessary to the defense, or to obtain some relief founded on the collateral claims of the party defendant to the original suit. Such bill has been superseded by a cross-claim under Fed.R. Civil P. 13.
Also, if a bill of exchange or promissory note be given in consideration of another bill or notice, it is called a "cross" or "counter" bill or note.
@ supplemental bill
A bill to bring before the court matters arising after the filing of the original bill or not then known to complainant. The function of this bill has been replaced by supplemental pleadings permitted under Fed.R. Civil P. 15.
See bill in nature of a supplemental bill
+ supplemental bill
In equity pleading, a bill filed in addition to an original bill, in order to supply some defect in its original frame or structure which cannot be supplied by amendment; or, for purpose of bringing into controversy matter occurring after original bill was filed
@ appropriations bill
Bill covering raising and expenditure of public funds. Federal appropriations bills must originate in the House of Representatives. Art. I, Sec. 7, U.S. Const.
See also appropriation bill
@ authorization bill
Bill authorizing expenditure of public funds.
@ clean bill
1) Bill coming out of legislative committee in amended or redrafted form, making it essentially a new bill.
2) Bill of exchange without documents attached
@ engrossed bill
Bill in final form, ready to be voted on by legislature.
@ private bill
One dealing only with a matter of private personal or local interest. All legislative bills which have for their object some particular or private interest are so termed, as distinguished from such as are for the benefit of the whole community, which are termed "public bills."
+ private bill
Legislation for the special benefit of an individual or a locality. Many State constitutions prohibit such legislation except by general law.
See also private law
@ revenue bill
See appropriations bill, above.
@ bill of adventure
Maritime law
A written certificate by a merchant or the master or owner of a ship, to the effect that the property and risk in goods shipped on the vessel in his own name belong to another person, to whom he is accountable for the proceeds alone
@ bill of entry
Maritime law
Detailed statement by the importer of the nature and value of goods entered at the customhouse. Form filled out by importer for use of customs officer; describes goods, their value, etc. Permits goods to be unloaded from ship
@ bill of health
Maritime law
An official certificate, given by the authorities of a port from which a vessel clears, to the master of the ship, showing the state of the port, as respects the public health, at the time of sailing, and exhibited to the authorities of the port which the vessel next makes, in token that she does not bring disease. If the bill alleges that no contagious or infectious disease existed, it is called a "clean" bill; if it admits that one was suspected or anticipated, or that one actually prevailed, it is called a "touched" or a "foul" bill
@ bill of sight
Customhouse document, allowing a cosignee to see the goods before paying duties.

Black's law dictionary. . 1990.

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