A rescript is a document that is issued not on the initiative of the author, but in response (it literally means 'written back') to a specific demand made by its addressee. It does not apply to more general legislation etcetera.


It may take various forms, from a formal document of an established type, such as a Papal Bull, to the forwarding of the demand with a simple mention by way of decision, something like "rejected" or "awarded", either to the party concerned or to the competent executive office to be carried out.

The word originated from the Roman imperial court, which often issued rescripts, in many cases prompted by its many governors and other officials. The other main field of application is the papal Roman Curia, which adopted many Roman administrative terms and practices. The Massachusetts appellate courts issue rescripts to the lower courts; these are the equivalent of mandates in federal appellate practice. [Mass. R. App. P. 1(c)]

By analogy it is also applied to similar procedures in other contexts, such as the Chinese and Japanese imperial courts, or even before the Roman empire.

Papal rescripts

Rescripts are responses of the pope or a Sacred Congregation, in writing, to queries or petitions of individuals. Papal rescripts concern the granting of favours or the administration of justice under canon law.


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  • rescript — RESCRÍPT, rescripte, s.n. Răspuns dat de împăraţii romani la chestiunile de drept asupra cărora erau consultaţi de către magistraţii sau de către guvernatorii provinciilor; p. ext. ordin care emană de la un suveran într o afacere particulară. –… …   Dicționar Român

  • rescript — index canon, citation (charge), correction (change), dictate, direction (order), directive …   Law dictionary

  • Rescript — Re script (r? skr?pt), n. [L. rescriptum: cf. F. rescrit, formerly also spelt rescript. See {Rescribe},v. t.] [1913 Webster] 1. (Rom.Antiq.) The answer of an emperor when formallyconsulted by particular persons on some difficult question; hence,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Rescript — (v. lat. Rescriptum), 1) jede schriftliche Antwort einer Oberbehörde an eine Unterbehörde, bes. wenn derselben Seitens der letzteren eine schriftliche Anfrage (Bericht) vorausgegangen ist; 2) eine Art von Verfügungen der römischen Kaiser, welche… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • rescript — [rē′skript΄] n. [L rescriptum < rescriptus, pp. of rescribere < re , back + scribere, to write: see SCRIBE] 1. an order or decree issued by a Roman emperor or by the pope in answer to some presented difficulty or point of law 2. any… …   English World dictionary

  • rescript — /ree skript /, n. 1. a written answer, as of a Roman emperor or a pope, to a query or petition in writing. 2. any edict, decree, or official announcement. 3. the act of rewriting. 4. something rewritten. [1520 30; < L rescriptum an imperial… …   Universalium

  • rescript — noun a) The answer of an emperor (originally the Roman Emperor) when formally consulted by a magistrate or other persons on some difficult point of law. In order that the people may know of my decision, I request you to prepare at once an… …   Wiktionary

  • rescript — n. 1 a Roman emperor s written reply to an appeal for guidance, esp. on a legal point. 2 RC Ch. the Pope s decision on a question of doctrine or papal law. 3 an official edict or announcement. 4 a the act or an instance of rewriting. b the thing… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Rescript, das — Das Rescrípt, des es, plur. die e, aus dem mittlern Lat. Rescriptum, diejenige Schrift eines Landesherrn, worin er sich auf das Bittschreiben eines Unterthanen, auf die Anfrage eines Collegii u.s.f. erkläret …   Grammatisch-kritisches Wörterbuch der Hochdeutschen Mundart

  • rescript — noun Etymology: Middle English rescripte, from Latin rescriptum, from neuter of rescriptus, past participle of rescribere to write in reply, from re + scribere to write more at scribe Date: 15th century 1. a written answer of a Roman emperor or… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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