Privilege
Encyclopedia
A privilege is a special entitlement
Entitlement
An entitlement is a guarantee of access to benefits based on established rights or by legislation. A "right" is itself an entitlement associated with a moral or social principle, such that an "entitlement" is a provision made in accordance with legal framework of a society...

 to immunity
Immunity
-Medicine:* Immunity , resistance of an organism to infection or disease.* Immunity , a scientific journal published by Cell Press-Law:*Amnesty law, immunity from past crimes...

 granted by the state or another authority to a restricted group, either by birth or on a conditional basis. It can be revoked in certain circumstances. In modern democratic states, a privilege is conditional and granted only after birth. By contrast, a right
Right
Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory...

is an inherent, irrevocable entitlement held by all citizens or all human beings from the moment of birth. Various older privileges, such as the old common law privilege to title deeds, may still exist, but be of little relevance today. Etymologically a privilege (privilegium) means a "private law", or rule relating to a specific individual or institution. Boniface's abbey of Fulda
Fulda
Fulda is a city in Hesse, Germany; it is located on the river Fulda and is the administrative seat of the Fulda district .- Early Middle Ages :...

, to cite an early and prominent example, was granted privilegium, setting the abbot in direct contact with the pope, bypassing the jurisdiction of the local bishop.

In a broader sense, "privilege" can refer to special powers or de facto immunities held as a consequence of political power
Political power
Political power is a type of power held by a group in a society which allows administration of some or all of public resources, including labour, and wealth. There are many ways to obtain possession of such power. At the nation-state level political legitimacy for political power is held by the...

 or wealth
Wealth
Wealth is the abundance of valuable resources or material possessions. The word wealth is derived from the old English wela, which is from an Indo-European word stem...

. Privilege of this sort may be transmitted by birth into a privileged class, membership in a particular group, or achieved through individual actions. One of the objectives of the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 was the abolition of privilege. This meant the removal of separate laws for different social class
Social class
Social classes are economic or cultural arrangements of groups in society. Class is an essential object of analysis for sociologists, political scientists, economists, anthropologists and social historians. In the social sciences, social class is often discussed in terms of 'social stratification'...

es (nobility
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

, clergy
Clergy
Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. A clergyman, churchman or cleric is a member of the clergy, especially one who is a priest, preacher, pastor, or other religious professional....

 and ordinary people), instead subjecting everyone to the same common law. Privileges were abolished by the National Constituent Assembly
National Constituent Assembly
The National Constituent Assembly was formed from the National Assembly on 9 July 1789, during the first stages of the French Revolution. It dissolved on 30 September 1791 and was succeeded by the Legislative Assembly.-Background:...

 on August 4, 1789.

One common legal privilege in the United States is protection from the requirement to testify or provide documents in certain situations. (See subpoena duces tecum
Subpoena duces tecum
A subpoena duces tecum is a court summons ordering a named party to appear before the court and produce documents or other tangible evidence for use at a hearing or trial....

 and privilege (evidence)
Privilege (evidence)
An evidentiary privilege is a rule of evidence that allows the holder of the privilege to refuse to provide evidence about a certain subject or to bar such evidence from being disclosed or used in a judicial or other proceeding....

.)

See also

  • Tenure
    Tenure
    Tenure commonly refers to life tenure in a job and specifically to a senior academic's contractual right not to have his or her position terminated without just cause.-19th century:...

     (academic privilege)
  • Executive privilege
    Executive privilege
    In the United States government, executive privilege is the power claimed by the President of the United States and other members of the executive branch to resist certain subpoenas and other interventions by the legislative and judicial branches of government...

  • Parliamentary privilege
    Parliamentary privilege
    Parliamentary privilege is a legal immunity enjoyed by members of certain legislatures, in which legislators are granted protection against civil or criminal liability for actions done or statements made related to one's duties as a legislator. It is common in countries whose constitutions are...

  • Privilege (canon law)
    Privilege (canon law)
    Privilege in the Canon law of the Roman Catholic Church is the legal concept whereby someone is exempt from the ordinary operation of the law over time for some specific purpose.-Definition:...

  • Privil√®ge du blanc
  • Privilege of Peerage
    Privilege of Peerage
    The privilege of peerage is the body of special privileges belonging to members of the British peerage. It is distinct from Parliamentary privilege, which applies only to those peers serving in the House of Lords and the members of the House of Commons, while Parliament is in session and forty days...

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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