Malice means wickedness of purpose, or a spiteful or malevolent design against another; a purpose to injure another; a design of doing mischief, or any evil design or inclination to do a bad thing, or a reckless disregard to the rights of others, or absence or legal excuse, or any other motive than that of bringing a party to justice

Meaning of Malice

Malice and Malicious Prosecution as stated in the Advance Law of Lexicon, 3rd Edition by P. Ramanatha Aiyar read as follows:

“Malice means in law wrongful intention. It includes any intent which the law deems wrongful, and which therefore serves as a ground of liability. Any act done with such an intent is, in the language of the law, malicious, and this legal usage has etymology in its favour.

The Latin malitia means badness, physical or moral – wickedness in disposition or in conduct – not specifically or exclusively ill-will or malevolence; hence the malice of English law, including all forms of evil purpose. design, intent, or motive. But intent is of two kinds, being either immediate or ulterior, the ulterior intent being commonly distinguished as the motive. The term malice is applied in law to both these forms of intent, and the result is a somewhat puzzling ambiguity which requires careful notice. When we say that an act is done maliciously, we mean one of the two distinct things. We mean either that it is done intentionally, or that it is done with some wrongful motive.”

Malice in law

“Malice in the legal sense imports

(I) the absence of all elements of justification, excuse or recognized mitigation, and

(2) the presence of either (a) an actual intent to cause the particular harm which is produced or harm of the same general nature, or (b) the wanton and wilful doing of an act with awareness of a plain and strong likelihood that such harm may result.

“Malice” in the legal acceptance of the word is not confined to personal spite against individuals but consists in a conscious violation of the law to the prejudice of another. In its legal sense it means a wrongful act done intentionally without just cause or excuse.

‘Malice”, in its legal sense, does not necessarily signily ill- will towards a particular individual, but denotes that condition of mind which is manifested by the intentional doing of a wrongful act without just cause or excuse. Therefore, the law implies malice where one deliberately injures another in an unlawful manner.

Malice in Common Acceptance

“MALICE”, in common acceptation, means, ill will against a person; but in its legal sense, it means, a wrongful act done intentionally without just cause or excuse”

Malice in its common acceptation, is a term involving stint intent of the mind and heart, including the will; and has been said to mean a bad mind; ill-will against a person; a wicked or evil state of the mind towards another; an evil intent or wish or design to vex or annoy another; a wilful intent to do a wrongful act; a wish to vex, annoy or injure another person or as intent to do a wrongful act; a condition of the mind which shows a heart regardless of social duty and fatally bent on mischief.

Malicious abuse of process.

Wilfully misapplying Court process to obtain object not intended by law. The wilful misuse or misapplication of process to accomplish a purpose not warranted or commanded by the writ. An action for malicious abuse of process lies in the following cases,

  • A malicious petition or proceeding to adjudicate a person an insolvent,
  • to declare a person lunatic or to wind up a company,  
  • maliciously procuring arrest or attachment in execution of a decree or before judgment, order or injunction or appointment of receiver, arrest of a ship, search of the plaintiff’s premises, arrest of a person by police.

Malicious abuse of civil proceedings.

In general, a person may utilize any form of legal process without any liability, save liability to pay the costs of proceedings if unsuccessful. But an action lies for initiating civil proceedings. Such as action, presentation of a bankruptcy or winding up petition, an unfounded claim to property, not only unsuccessfully but maliciously and without reasonable and probable cause and resulting in damage to the plaintiff. (Walker)

Malicious abuse of legal process.

A malicious abuse of legal process consists in the malicious misuse or misapplication of process to accomplish a purpose not warranted or commanded by order of Court – the malicious perversion of a regularly issued process, whereby an improper result is secured.