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BRIEF, from the French bref, which comes from the Latin brevis, denotes a thing of short extent or duration. It is more particularly used for a summary or short statement.Brief, in law, signifies an abridgment of the client's case, made out for the instruction of counsel on a trial. In this, the case of the party is to be concisely but fully stated; the proofs are to be placed in due order, and proper answers made to whatever may be objected against the cause of the client. In preparing the brief, great care is requisite, that no omission be made which may endanger the case.Briefs, apostolical; written messages of the pope, addressed to princes or magistrates, respecting matters of public concern. Such brevia as are despatched by the datarii or secretarii, and called rescripts, despatches, concessions, mandates, &c, are written on parchment, and sealed, with the fisher's ring, in red wax. Pastoral letters, directed to princes and bishops, are without seal. These papers derive their name from the shortness of their formalities, since they have no introductory preamble, but commence with the pope's name, and these words: dilecto jilio salutem et apostolicam henediclionem. Briefs are not subscribed by the pope, nor with his name, but with that of his secretary.