INDEMNITY, in law, an undertaking, either express or im plied, to compensate another for loss or damage, or for trouble or expense incurred; also the sum so paid (see COMPENSATION ; CONTRACT; and INSURANCE: Marine). An act of indemnity is a statute passed for the purpose either of relieving persons from disabilities and penalties to which they have rendered themselves liable or to make legal transactions which, when they took place, were illegal. An act or bill of indemnity used to be passed every session by the English parliament for the relief of those who had unwittingly neglected to qualify themselves in certain respects for the holding of offices, etc., as, for example, justices, without taking the necessary oaths. The Promissory Oaths Act 1868 rendered this unnecessary. Acts are frequently passed to provide for meeting unforeseen but necessary expenditure incurred in emergencies in the service of the State.
In the United States acts of Congress and of the state legis latures and municipal councils generally, compensating corpora tions or individuals for damages or expenses incurred for the benefit of the public or the government, are generally termed acts of "relief."