Are You a Legal Professional?

FINDLAW LEGAL DICTIONARY

The FindLaw Legal Dictionary -- free access to over 8260 definitions of legal terms. Search for a definition or browse our legal glossaries.

Parens Patriae

parens patriae n

[Latin, parent of the country]
: the state in its capacity as the legal guardian of persons not sui juris and without natural guardians, as the heir to persons without natural heirs, and as the protector of all citizens unable to protect themselves [because the State is supposed to proceed in respect of the child as parens patriae and not as adversary "Kent v. United States , 383 U.S. 541 (1966)"]



Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.