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Definition of DE FACTO

In fact, ln deed, actunlly. This phrase is used to characterize au officer, a government, a past action, or a state of af-fairs which exists actually and must be ac-cepted for all practical purposes, but which ls illegal or Illegitimate. In this sense it is the contrary of de jure, which means rightful, legitimate, just, or constitutional. Thus, an officer, king, or government de facto is one who is in actual possession of the ofiice or supreme power, but by usurpation, or without respect to lawful title; while an officer, klng, or governor de jure is one who has just claim and rightful title to tlie office or power, but who has never had plenary possession of the same, or is not now in actual possession. 4 Bl. Comm. 77, 78. So a wife de facto is one whose marriage is voidable by decree, as distinguished from a wife de jure, or lawful wife. 4 Kent, Comm. 36

 

Black's Law Dictionary 2nd edition

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