Why “chose” in action? Why not “right/droit” in action?
Chose (in action)
this can be translated as ‘thing in action’. It is an intangible right which is essentially a right to sue.
JC Smith's The Law of Contract 2021 3 ed, p 476.
Law French used "droit", and in 2021 French, droit (the noun) still signifies "right". Why use a vaguer supernym "chose" (French for "thing") than the more specific "right" or "droit"?
Cause comes via Old French cause from Latin causa, which as well as ‘reason’ meant ‘law-suit’; this was carried over into English legal language (it survives in terms such as cause-list ‘list of cases to be tried’) and its use in expressions like ‘plead someone’s cause’ led in the late 16th century to a more general application ‘goal or principle pursued or supported’. French chose ‘thing’ also comes from Latin causa, in the weakened sense ‘matter, subject’.
Word Origins (2005 2e) by John Ayto. p 99.
"Thing" isn't an obvious supernym for a "right". The legal definition of a "thing" is narrower than "simply anything" and it varies not just by a language, but also by jurisdiction.
Any chose in action is associated with a specific kind of a right: a property right.
That's what makes it a "thing". Somebody owns the chose in action. For example, they owe someone else's debt. It's difficult to collect it, one cannot hold such a thing in their hand (not until it is collected and not after it is collected), but it may still have a certain value and there's a procedure that lets one collect it: that procedure is the "action" in "chose in action".
Not every right is a property right. I have a right to be silent - but there's no abstract thing I can point to and say "this is my silence and I own it." I also cannot ask a court to enforce my right to be silent (to "collect" the right), therefore this right is not a property right and it is not a chose in action.
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