1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Outlawry

OUTLAWRY, the process of putting a person out of the protection of the law; a punishment for contemptuously refusing to appear when called in court, or evading justice by disappearing. It was an offence of very early existence in England, and was the punishment of those who could not pay the were or blood-money to the relatives of the deceased. By the Saxon law, an outlaw, or laughlesman, lost his libera lex and had no protection from the frank-pledge in the decennary in which he was sworn. He was, too, a frendlesman, because he forfeited his friends; for if any of them rendered him any assistance, they became liable to the same punishment. He was, at one time, said to be caput lupinum, or to have a wolf's head, from the fact that he might be knocked on the head like a wolf by any one that should meet him; but so early as the time of Bracton an outlaw might only be killed if he defended himself or ran away; once taken, his life was in the king's hands, and any one killing him had to answer for it as for any other homicide. The party guilty of outlawry suffered forfeiture of chattels in all cases, and in cases of treason or murder forfeiture of real property: for other offences the profits of land during his lifetime. In cases of treason or felony, outlawry was followed also by corruption of blood. An outlaw was civiliter mortuus. He could not sue in any court, nor had he any legal rights which could be enforced, but. he was personally liable upon all causes of action. An outlawry might be reversed by proceedings in error, or by application to a court. It was finally abolished in civil proceedings in 1879, while in criminal proceedings it has practically become obsolete, being unnecessary through the general adoption of extradition treaties. A woman was said to be waived rather than outlawed.

In Scotland outlawry or fugitation may be pronounced by the supreme criminal court in the absence of the panel on the day of trial. In the United States outlawry never existed in civil cases, and in the few cases where it existed in criminal proceedings it has become obsolete.