DECREE

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DECREE, in general; an order, edict or law made by a superior, as a rule to govern inferiors. It is used for a judicial decision in the court of chancery; also for the edicts of ecclesiastical councils. In the civil law, it signified a determination or judgment of the emperor on a suit between parties. The compilation of the ojder papal decretals and the decrees of the councils, made by the monk Gratianus in the 11th century, is called the Decretum Gratiani. (See Canon Law.) In the former German empire, the resolutions of the emperor, declared to the estates of the empire, were called decrees, The old name of royal orders, in France, was ordonnances or lettres. The national convention, while it possessed sovereign power, used the expression La convention nationale decrtte. During the period of the directory, and under the consular government, the expressions arret and arreter were customary; but the imperial government used the words imperial decree, for instance, in the famous decrees of Berlin and of Milan.