Also found in: Legal.
the state-accorded capacity of citizens and legal persons (organizations with civil rights and obligations) to have the rights and obligations provided and allowed by law. In the USSR, legal capacity is accorded to citizens, state organizations, enterprises, institutions, public organizations, and kolkhozes and other cooperative organizations. All citizens enjoy equal legal capacity, regardless of sex, race, nationality, origin, type of employment, or social status. The legal capacity of legal persons is determined by their charters in accordance with the purposes of their activity. Foreign citizens and stateless persons living in the USSR have legal capacity equal to that of Soviet citizens, with individual exceptions established by law.
Legal capacity is an essential prerequisite for many specific subjective rights and duties of citizens and organizations that participate in appropriate legal relations; the rights and duties arise when the grounds, or legal facts, established by law are present. The legal relations affected include civil, labor, kolkhoz, family, (certain) administrative, and procedural. Since legal capacity is itself a subjective right and is protected by the state, no one can be restricted in legal capacity except in certain cases and in the manner provided for by law. Agreements aimed at restricting legal capacity are invalid.
Although citizens have legal capacity from the moment of birth, it can be fully exercised only when they reach the age established by law. The rights of citizens below this age are exercised by parents and other legal representatives. Legal capacity is not distinguished from legal capability with respect to legal persons; the legal capacity of legal persons arises at the moment legal persons are formed and stops when they are liquidated or reorganized.