Principal Definition and Legal Meaning
On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Principal, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.
What is Principal?
1\) one who commits the crime or is main accomplice in the crime 2) One who holds the high rank in business or job and who directs his/her subordinates to act as an agent on his behalf to ceate a legal relationship with the third party.
History and Meaning of Principal
The term "principal" has two distinct meanings in legal contexts. The first definition is a person who commits a crime, often referred to as a "principal offender" or simply "principal." This person is considered the main instigator of the crime and is usually punished more severely than accomplices. The second definition refers to a person who has authority over others, particularly in a business context, such as a company's chief executive officer or a school's principal.
Examples of Principal
- In a robbery case, the person who actually wielded the weapon and stole the money would be considered the principal offender.
- A CEO of a company is considered a principal because they have the authority to make decisions on behalf of the company and direct their subordinates to act accordingly.
- A school principal is considered a principal because they have the authority to make decisions on behalf of the school and direct the teachers and staff to act accordingly.
- In a joint venture, one company may be designated as the principal and the other as the agent tasked with carrying out the project.
Legal Terms Similar to Principal
- Accomplice: a person who helps commit a crime but is not the main offender.
- Agent: a person or entity authorized to act on behalf of another person or entity.
- Master: a person or entity that has control over the actions of another person or entity.