Discussion “Legally” Defined

The following definitions for “discussion” are taken from Ballantine’s Law Dictionary (3rd edition), Bouvier’s Law Dictionary (6th edition), Black’s Law Dictionary (2nd edition), and Webster’s Dictionary (1828):




A civil law term meaning the seizure and sale of the property of the principal to satisfy the demand against him before proceeding against that of the surety [Schmidt v. New Orleans, 33 La Ann 17, 18].



A proceeding, on the part of a surety, by which the property of the principal debtor is made liable before resort can be had to the sureties; this called the benefit of discussion [this is the law in Louisiana. Civ. Code of Lo. Art. 3014 to 3020. see Domat, 3, 4, 1 to 4; Burge on Sur. 329, 343, 348; 5 Toull. p. 544 7 Toull. p. 93; 2 Bouv. Inst. n. 1414].



In the civil law, a proceeding, at the instance of a surety, by which the creditor is obliged to exhaust the property of the principal debtor, towards the satisfaction of the debt, before having recourse to the surety; and this right of the surety is term the “benefit of discussion.” [Civ. Code Law. Art. 3045, et seq.]

In Scotch law, the ranking of the proper order in which heirs are liable to satisfy the debts of the deceased [Bell].




  1. In surgery, resolution; the dispersion of a tumor or any coagulated matter.
  2. Debate; disquisition; the agitation of a point or subject with a view to elicit truth; the treating of a subject by argument, to clear it of difficulties, and separate truth from falsehood.
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