Legal Dictionary U


Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, the successor of URESA (which see). The uniform child and spousal support legislation already adopted and implemented by most states and expected to be law throughout the USA soon. It is a long-arm statute, giving the state which issues the first support order jurisdiction over the support payor anywhere in the USA for the purposes of varying that order

Ultra vires

Literally, without authority. An act which is beyond the power or authority of the person or organization taking it.

Unjust enrichment

A legal procedure which seeks reimbursement from one who benefits from another’s action or property without legal justification. This is based on the legal theory of the constructive trust, which the court imposes upon the circumstances to hold the person unjustly enriched as trustee, and the person who should properly get the property back as beneficiary of the constructive trust. A court may not force reimbursement based on “unjust enrichment” unless these three conditions are met: defendant receives an actual enrichment or benefit; a corresponding deprivation is suffered by the plaintiff; and the absence of a legal reason for the defendant’s enrichment


Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act of the United States, as created in 1950 by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. This was the first family support uniform legislation in the USA and it was ultimately adopted, in some form or another, by all the US states. It was updated in 1968 and the revised version became known as “RURESA”, the initial “R” standing for “Revised.” It has been replaced by UIFSA.


From ancient Roman law (and now a part of many civil law systems), “usufruct” means the rights to the product of another’s property. For example, a farmer may give a right of “usufruct” of his land to a neighbor, thus enabling that neighbor to sow and reap the harvest of that land.


An excessive or illegal interest rate. Most countries now set a limit on interest rates and prohibit interest rates above a certain level. Rates which exceed these levels are called “usury”.