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Corporate Governance Assignment: AICD Case Study

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How To Build A Career As A Board Executive

How To Build A Career As A Board Executive - Arete

I often get approached by people looking to build a career as a board director. Many are just starting out, while others might already have one or sometimes two board roles, and are looking to grow a full portfolio to keep them occupied after retiring from their executive life.

Other times people have a desire to move into a board career earlier in their life. The good news is there are more opportunities than ever as the desire for diversity increases, not only in terms of gender, but also age and other attributes.

So, don’t chase a board career for the money, at least not initially. It’s better to work on simply attaining one, or two, while you’re still working first. Then you can make the leap across into a full portfolio later in life when you’re either financially independent or aren’t driven by income.

Expand your current skill set to ensure success

What a lot of people don’t realise is when you’re moving into a board career, it is very much like starting your career all over again. Whilst you may have fantastic key achievements and transferable skills at an executive level, being a board director is quite different. Those things may be valued and get you the opportunity to start a board career, but you need to build an entirely different skill set in order to be successful.                           

It is fundamental that you complete the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) director qualifications . There are other organisations offering director qualifications, but the AICD qualification is the most highly regarded. Even if you’re looking to get a not-for-profit board role which will predominantly be pro bono, there is still a high expectation that you’ve completed the AICD course. If you haven’t done that, then you are disadvantaging yourself.

The qualification is not cheap and it requires a strong commitment not only to attending the lectures, but more importantly, to completing the assessment afterwards in order to qualify.                       

I see many people start the AICD course but don’t do the exams and assignment work because life gets in the way. If it’s only partially completed, it might as well not be completed at all. Once it’s done, it’s done. As long as you maintain your AICD membership, you should never need to do it again.                           

There are certain people out there in the board coaching space, who charge people ridiculous amounts of money promising to teach the necessary skills to be a director and give access to opportunities.

They often advise the AICD qualification is not required, but I would argue it definitely is. Anyone who has a board role without completing the AICD course more than likely got that role on a relationship basis and would very much be in the minority.

Don’t underestimate not-for-profit boards

Once you’ve completed the AICD qualification, the next thing to think about is how you get recognised as a board director, build your experience and build your profile and personal brand.

A fantastic way to do that is by joining a substantive, not-for-profit. I’m not talking about the local P&C although there’s nothing wrong with that, but a not-for-profit which already has a board of significant professionals.

You will be expected to join the not-for-profit board and attend board meetings on a pro bono basis. In other words, you won’t get paid. Often they will say to you, “We’re looking for a contribution of around two days a month, maybe half a day reading board papers, half a day attending a board meeting, and then some ancillary work on a subcommittee”, or something like that.

It’s important not to underestimate the expectation not-for-profits have for their board directors. The commitment is usually equivalent or potentially higher than commercial boards. By the time you attend their events, you support them in fundraising and doing other activities, it’s probably a lot more than they initially present to you.

If you’re going to make that commitment, it’s extremely important you know what is required of you in advance and that you feel confident you’ve got the time and capacity to deliver.

Join a board and the cause

Another thing you should ensure when joining a not-for-profit board, is that you have a genuine connection to their cause. So, whether you’re into animal welfare or education or indigenous issues or health issues, it’s great if you’ve got a personal connection to what they’re doing. In fact, when many not-for-profits are interviewing, they will only consider people for board directors who actually have a personal connection.

This was true for Autism Queensland. I was responsible for recruiting almost the entire board, including a number of chairs. One of their prerequisites was that the person had to have some kind of history or personal involvement with autism. Maybe they have an autistic child, maybe they work in the field; something that shows they understand the issues facing people with autism and that they’re there for the right reasons.

Not-for-profits understand they are a great vehicle for people to build their board career, but by the same token, they don’t want to be used for that. So, whilst it’s important to see it as part of your growth as a director, you don’t want to explicitly say to a not-for-profit, “The only reason I’m joining you is to get access to other board opportunities”.

Not-for-profit networking

Joining a not-for-profit board is also a great opportunity for networking. Many of the people on the board will be on multiple other boards so, they’re a great way to access other opportunities. Sitting in a room with people of that calibre on a monthly basis is also a great way to learn more about being on a board.

This was confirmed in one of my recent podcasts with Ian Klug , chairman of Brisbane Marketing as well as a number of other organisations. His background is in accounting. He talks explicitly about how being on not-for-profit boards was instrumental in him being able to move into being a very successful board director and building his career around that now.

If you want to get paid board roles, the important thing to understand is that at least 95%, if not more, never make it to the open market. A vacancy becomes available and the board will talk about who they know that meets the requirements of the role and is available. Those people are often approached directly and offered a board vacancy without any kind of recruitment process.

So, it’s incredibly important to build a relationship with the chair of the board before they know they need you. You can do this by identifying the chair from the company’s website, finding their LinkedIn profile and requesting a meeting. You can then start to build a rapport and follow up with them regularly to ensure when those opportunities become available, they know who you are.

A great example of that is told by Grant Murdoch on another podcast of mine. Grant was one of the senior leaders within Ernst & Young in Brisbane and he talked to me about when he wished to build his board career. He identified the most influential non-executive directors in Queensland, built a spreadsheet and made sure he touched base with each of those people at least once a quarter. That would be through a phone call, a coffee, or meeting them at an event. That’s a big ask, but as a result, he was able to build a broad portfolio of a number of very good quality and well-paid board roles quite quickly.

Ensure you’re a good cultural fit

It’s entirely up to you how assertive you want to be in building your board portfolio, but those who follow the structure from my book, Uncover The Hidden Job Market , and apply that in terms of building relationships at board level are extraordinarily successful.

But remember, it’s quite easy to get somebody onto a board, and a lot more difficult to get them off the board. So, cultural fit is extraordinarily important. A chair wants to know that if they invite you to join their board you will deliver the outcomes required and you’ll do it in a way that is amenable and fits well within the culture of the existing board members.

Whilst they may want people who will challenge ideas and be assertive in terms of their responsibilities, they certainly don’t want people who are going to be aggressive and antagonistic. As a result of that, when making decisions about who they want to join their board, they will often err on the side of caution and appoint people they know.

One way you won’t succeed in building a relationship with chairs is by going to AICD events. The top board directors rarely attend these events because they get hammered by aspiring board directors wanting to join their board.

That’s not to say those events aren’t worth going to, they definitely are from an education networking point of view, but you’re not going to meet the people there that are the key decision makers in building your board career.

Keep your options open

However you build your portfolio, make sure you don’t get pigeonholed. If you end up joining five not-for-profit boards, you’ll probably only be considered as a director in that sector. Similarly, if you join five privately owned boards, you may not get an opportunity to join an ASX board.

Now, it’s not to say that everybody wants an ASX board or wants an ASX top 50 board, but if you do have aspirations to get on larger ASX organisations’ boards, you need to make sure you’ve got good diversity in your portfolio and that you are continuing to strive for the next rung.

Ensure you’re hearing about board opportunities by registering for job alerts and subscribing to the AICD board opportunities page.

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Medical definition of aicd, dictionary entries near aicd.


Cite this Entry

“AICD.” Medical Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Nov. 2023.

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The principal clinical signs of death are apnea and asystole. Other indications, including loss of cranial nerve reflexes and the cessation of the electrical activity of the brain, may be necessary for those receiving mechanical life support.

Patient care

Legal procedures and institutional protocols should be followed in the determination of death. The times of cessation of breathing and heartbeat are documented, and the physician or other legally authorized health care professional is notified and asked to certify death. The family is notified according to institutional policy, and emotional support is provided. Auxiliary equipment is removed, but the hospital identification bracelet is left in place. The body is cleansed, clean dressings are applied as necessary, and the rectum is packed with absorbent material to prevent drainage. The deceased is placed in a supine position with the limbs extended and the head slightly elevated. Dentures are inserted, if appropriate; the mouth and eyes are closed; and the body is covered to the chin with a sheet.

The deceased's belongings are collected and documented. Witnesses should be present, esp. if personal items have great sentimental or monetary value. The family is encouraged to visit, touch, and hold the patient's body as desired. In some situations (as in neonatal death or accidental death) and according to protocol, a photograph of the deceased is obtained to assist the family in grieving and remembering their loved one. A health care professional and a family member sign for and remove the patient's belongings.

After the family has gone, the body is prepared for the morgue. Body tags, imprinted with the patient's identification plate or card information (name, identification number, room and bed number, attending physician), along with the date and time of death, are tied to the patient's foot or wrist as well as to the outside of the shroud. The body is then transported to the morgue and placed in a refrigerated unit according to protocol.

  • activation-induced cell death

assisted death

Biological death.

  • black death
  • brain death

The determination of brain death has both medical and legal consequences. It establishes a criterion for the withdrawal of life support from the critically ill who no longer have measurable brain function. At the same time it may initiate a discussion with family members of the deceased about organ donation. Those who have unequivocally specified that they would like to donate their organs at death currently make up a very small percentage of the population. Most of those who die have not made plans for organ donation, and some (such as those who die from trauma) may have never considered making a living will, a directive to physicians, or plans for organ donation. Discussions with family members in the immediate postmortem period may be emotionally challenging both for health care professionals and the grieving.

Brain death differs from the death of the heart, lungs, or other internal organs, and family members may often be confused about its meaning. They may wonder why they can still observe evidence of cardiac activity or effective mechanical ventilation. Family members may be unwilling to consent to withdrawal of ventilator support even when clinicians recognize that continued treatment will be of no benefit. There is a procedure to protect the rights of patients and their families in resolving disputes when family members do not agree with clinicians’ decisions regarding discontinuance of life support in situations of medical futility. It is important for health care providers to explain that the brain-dead patient may still have an active heart rhythm but no longer has the ability to think, see, hear, or feel. The pulse and breath of the brain-dead patient can be artificially maintained for a short time. The central nervous system has already failed. If organ donation is being considered, an expert counselor should discuss this with the next of kin and help make the necessary arrangements. For some families, organ donation by the deceased provides some solace at a time of deep loss. If time is needed for a significant loved one to be present with the patient before he or she is removed from life-support, the involved physicians should be notified and a time arranged. It is often helpful for families to do this. If a close family member cannot be present and the family is concerned about this, it may help them to have a photograph of the patient once he or she has died that can be shared with others. After life support has been withdrawn, it is considerate to provide private time for the family to be with the deceased, supporting them as necessary. A hospital chaplain or the patient’s or family’s priest, rabbi, minister, or pastor will often provide spiritual comfort for survivors in addition to the support and comfort provided by professional staff.

death with dignity

Early neonatal death, fetal death, functional death, interphase cell death, intrapartum death, local death, man-made death, molecular death, neocortical death, pregnancy-related death, sudden death, wrongful death.

  • defibrillator

A defibrillator may be used with conductive pads applied to the chest wall or may be surgically implanted in the chest, e.g., in patients who have previously been resuscitated from sudden death.

automated external defibrillator

Automatic defibrillator.

  • automatic implanted cardioverter defibrillator

automatic implanted ventricular defibrillator

Manual defibrillator, semi-automatic defibrillator.

  • automatic external defibrillator
  • cerebral death
  • implantable cardioverter-defibrillator
  • programmed cell death
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  • As death comes on we are like trees growing in the sandy bank of a widening river —Bhartrihari

Franklin’s epitaph for himself is a fine example of appropriately suiting the comparison to what’s being compared.

  • (Kill him) dead as a beef —William Faulkner
  • [Sexual feelings] dead as a burned-out cinder —Ellen Glasgow
  • Death arrives … sudden as a pasteboard box crushed by a foot —Marge Piercy
  • Death falling like snow on any head it chooses —Philip Levine

A simile from one of Read’s many war poems, Meditation of the Waking English Officer.

  • Death has many times invited me: it was like the salt invisible in the waves —Pablo Neruda
  • Death lies on her, like an untimely frost —William Shakespeare
  • Death, like roulette, turning our wish to its will —George Barker
  • Death lurking up the road like a feral dog abroad in the swirling snow —Marge Piercy
  • Death, you can never tell where else it will crop up —John Hale


  • Died in beauty, like a rose blown from its parent stem —CD. Sillery

In the short story, The Johnstown Polka, the simile has a literal frame of reference; specifically, a room in an old age home which is overheated because to open the windows would kill the people in it.

  • Died like flies in a sugar bowl —Rita Mae Brown
  • (I won’t) drown like a rat in a trap —George Bernard Shaw
  • Like a swift-fleeting meteor, a fast flaying cloud, a flash of lightning, a break of the wave, man passes from life to his rest in the grave —William Knox
  • Dying is as natural as living —Thomas Fuller

An even more frequently used variation is to “Drop like flies.”

  • (I will) encounter darkness as a bride —William Shakespeare
  • (You couldn’t) expect death to come rushing in like a skivvy because you’d rung the bell —Paul Barker
  • Feel my death rushing towards me like an express train —John Updike
  • Felt death near, like a garment she had left hanging in her closet and could not see or find, though she knew it was there —Abraham Rothberg
  • Go to their graves like flowers or creeping worms —Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • The intimations of mortality appear so gradually as to be imperceptible, like the first graying in of twilight —Richard Selzer
  • Like a clock worn out with eating time, the wheels of weary life at last stood still —John Dryden
  • Like a led victim, to my death I’ll go —John Dryden
  • Like sheep they are laid in the grave — The Holy Bible/Psalms
  • (I now) look at death, the way we look at a house we plan to move into —William Bronk
  • Men fear death, as children fear to go in the dark; and as that natural fear in children is increased with tales, so is the other —Francis Bacon
  • Our fear of death is like our fear that summer will be short, but when we have had our swing of pleasure, our fill of fruit, and our swelter of heat, we say we have had our day —Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Passed away, as a dry leaf passes into leaf mold —John Updike
  • [In old age] the shadow of death … like a sword of Damocles, may descend at any moment —Samuel Butler
  • She passed away like morning dew —Hartley Coleridge
  • Talking over the fact of his approaching death as though it were a piece of property for agreeable disposition in the family —Elizabeth Spencer

From a letter of condolence to W. R. Sturtevant, September 17, 1878, in which the simile continues as follows: “Their memory comes back after a time more beautiful than that of those who leave us at any other age.”


  • We are all kept and fed for death, like a herd of swine to be slain without reason —Palladas
  • We end our years like a sigh … for it is speedily gone, and we fly away — The Holy Bible/Psalms
  • Wherever you go, death dogs you like a shadow —Anon, probably dating back to before Christ.

big jump An American cowboy who dies is said to have taken the big jump.

bite the dust To die; to come a cropper; to suffer defeat; to fail. The image created by the phrase is one of death: a warrior or soldier falling from a horse and literally biting the dust. In 1697, Dryden used the phrase in his translation of Virgil’s Aeneid .

So many Valiant Heros bite the Ground.

Western stories popularized the phrase in expressions such as “many a redskin bit the dust that day” ( Webster’s Third ). It is also said to have gained currency during World War II in R.A.F. circles. Today the phrase is used figuratively in reference to the defeat, disaster, or failure of a person or something closely associated with a person. One who is defeated is said to bite the dust, but rarely is the phrase used seriously in regard to someone’s death.

bless the world with one’s heels To suffer death by hanging. The bless of the expression carries its obsolete meaning ‘to wave or brandish,’ a meaning Dr. Johnson conjectured derived from the action of benediction when the celebrant blesses the congregation with the monstrance. In somewhat similar fashion a hanging man blesses the world with his heels.

buy it To be killed; to die prematurely as a result of a tragedy. Buy it is a witty way of saying “pay for it with one’s life.” The phrase dates from the early 19th century when it was used primarily in military circles.

The wings and fuselage, with fifty-three bullet holes, caused us to realize on our return how near we had been to “buying it.” (W. Noble, With Bristol Fighter Squadron , 1920)

Today this British slang phrase is used in nonmilitary contexts as well.

buy the box To die, or be as good as dead. Many people buy their own coffins in order to spare their families the expense and trauma of the funeral and burial arrangements. The irony of “preparing for death” probably gave rise to this irreverent slang expression, the implication being that once a person “buys the box,” he might as well be dead.

buy the farm To die; to be shot down and killed. The origin of this British slang phrase has been attributed to British pilots who were wont to say that when “it was all over,” they were “going to settle down and buy a farm.” Many pilots were never able to realize this dream because they were shot down and killed. Thus, buy the farm became a euphemism for ‘die’ because of the glaring disparity between the idealized dream cherished by the pilots and the tragic reality of the death they experienced.

cash in one’s chips To die, to pass on or away. Also cash or pass or hand in one’s checks . In use since the 1870s, this expression is a reference to the card game of poker, in which a player turns in his chips or checks to the banker in exchange for cash at the end of the game.

cross the Great Divide To die; to go west; to cross the Styx. Cross over is a euphemistic way of saying ‘to die.’ Cross the Great Divide is a longer, more emphatic, but still euphemistic way of saying the same thing. Here the “Great Divide” is being used figuratively to refer to the illusory line between life and death. At one time, the unsettled area referred to as the “West”—across the Great Divide or Continental Divide —represented the “Great Unknown,” and heading in that direction came to mean risking one’s life.

curtains See TERMINATION .

dance on air To be hanged; also dance on nothing . A person who is hanged may undergo involuntary muscle contractions. These jerky movements resemble dancing of a sort. Similar expressions include dance in the rope and dance the Tyburn jig , the latter in reference to Tyburn, a place for public executions in London, England.

If any of them chanced to be made dance in the rope, they thought him happy to be so freed of the care and trouble [that] attends the miserable indigent. (Sorel’s Comical History of Francion , 1655)

Just as the felon condemned to die … From his gloomy cell in a vision elopes, To caper on sunny greens and slopes, Instead of the dance upon nothing. (Thomas Hood, Kilmansegg, Her Death , 1840)

dead as a doornail Dead, very dead, deader than dead; inoperative with no hope of repair. Many houses formerly had a heavy metal knocker on the front door. A doornail was a large, heavy-headed spike sometimes used as a striker plate against which the knocker was struck to increase its loudness and prevent damage to the door. Since the doornail was continually being struck on the head, it was assumed that nothing could be deader.

Old Marley was as dead as a doornail. (Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol , 1843)

As knockers (and doornails) became less common, the word doorknob was often substituted in the expression. Other expressions such as dumb as a doornail and deaf as a doornail imply that someone is extremely stupid or stone deaf, respectively.

debt to nature Death. The implication is that life is a loan and, with or without interest, it must be paid off with death. Pay one’s debt to nature means to die. Both these expressions, common since the Middle Ages, have been used as euphemistic epitaphs on tombstones, particularly those from the early 20th century.

Pay nature’s debt with a cheerful countenance. (Christopher Marlowe, Edward II , approx. 1593)

die for want of lobster sauce See EXCESSIVENESS .

die in harness To die while working or while in the middle of some action, especially while fighting. The allusion may be to a horse who drops dead while still in harness, as a plowhorse working a field. Another possibility is that harness is used in the archaic sense of armor for men or horses, as in the following passage from Shakespeare’s Macbeth:

At least we’ll die with harness on our back. (V,v)

Two similar phrases are to die in the saddle and to die with one’s boots on . The latter dates from the late 19th century and formerly meant to die a violent death, especially by hanging. To die in the saddle brings to mind cavalry or mounted soldiers while to die with one’s boots on conjures up images of foot soldiers, as in the following citation:

They died with their boots on; they hardly ever surrendered. ( Listener Magazine , 1959)

die like Roland See HUNGER .

feed the fishes To die by drowning.

food for worms A dead and interred body; a corpse or carcass. The source of this saying is obvious. Another expression of similar zoological origin is food for fishes , referring to one dead from drowning.

He was food for fishes now, poor fellow. (Rider Haggard, Mr. Meson’s Will , 1894)

give up the ghost To die, to expire, to breathe one’s last. Ghost refers to one’s soul or spirit, the essence of life. The expression is Biblical in origin:

But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? (Job 14:10)

go belly up An American slang expression meaning to die and float belly up in the manner of dead fish. It is used figuratively for any failure or nonsuc-cess, just as death is.

go the way of all flesh To die. This expression is of Biblical origin:

And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the Earth. (Joshua 23:14)

The phrase’s evolution to its present form with flesh substituted for the Earth is not fully understood by modern scholars. The expression appeared in The Golden Age by Thomas Hey-wood (1611):

Whether I had better go home by land, or by sea? If I go by land and miscarry, then I go the way of all flesh.

go west To expire, die. This expression, obviously derived from the setting of the sun in the west, may be traced to the ancient Egyptian belief that their dead resided west of the Nile River. In addition, whites who traveled west of the Mississippi during the frontier days were considered fair game for Indians; hence, in the United States “going west” became synonymous with dying. The use of this expression has decreased since its heyday during World War I.

I shall once again be in the company of dear old friends now ‘gone west.’ (E. Corri, Thirty Years as a Boxing Referee , 1915)

have [someone’s] number on it See DESTINY .

join the majority To die; to pass on or away. Also join the great majority, go or pass over to the majority, death joins us to the great majority . Based on the Latin phrase abiit ad plures , this expression and variants have been in use since the early 18th century.

kick the bucket To die. Although several explanations as to the origin of this expression have been advanced, the most plausible states that the phrase came from an old custom of hanging slaughtered pigs by their heels from a beam, or bucket , as it is known in parts of England. In use since 1785, this irreverent synonym for to die is popular in both England and America. Shorter variations include kick, kick off , and kick in .

leap in the dark An action of unknown consequences; a blind venture; death. The last words of Thomas Hobbes, philosopher and translator (1588-1679), are reputed to have been:

Now am I about to take my last voyage—a great leap in the dark.

make a hole in the water To commit suicide by drowning. The hole in this expression refers to a grave. To make a hole in the water, then, is to go to a watery grave intentionally. This slang phrase, rarely heard today, dates from the mid-19th century.

Why I don’t go and make a hole in the water I don’t know. (Charles Dickens, Bleak House , 1853)

make [someone’s] beard See DOMINATION .

necktie party A lynching or hanging; also necktie social, necktie sociable, necktie frolic . This euphemistic and irreverent American slang expression, popularized by western movies, is an extension of the slang necktie ‘hangman’s rope.’

Mr. Jim Clemenston, equine abductor, was on last Thursday morning, at ten sharp, made the victim of a neck-tie sociable. ( Harper’s Magazine , November, 1871)

[one’s] number is up A person is about to die—one is done for, one’s time has come. At an earlier date, number referred to one’s lottery number; currently, the full expression refers euphemistically to death.

Fate had dealt him a knock-out blow; his number was up. (P. G. Wodehouse, Girl on Boat , 1922)

This expression was common among American soldiers who may have been the first to use it in speaking of death.

peg out To die; to bite the dust. In cribbage, the game is finished when a player pegs out the last hole. This expression is among the less frequently heard euphemisms for death.

Harrison … was then 67 … and actually pegged out in 1841. (H. L. Mencken, in The New Yorker , October 1, 1949)

push up daisies To be dead and buried in one’s grave; also turn one’s toes up to the daisies and under the daisies . The reference is to the flowers often planted on top of new graves. The expression and variants have been in use since the mid-19th century.

sprout wings See CHARITABLENESS .

step off To die; to be married. The expression’s latter sense, often extended to step off the carpet , refers to the conclusion of the bride’s procession to the altar. The phrase’s former, more common, meaning is an allusion to the last footstep of life.

The old man and I are both due to step off if we’re caught. (Dashiell Hammett, Blood Money , 1927)

take for a ride To murder; to deceive or cheat; to pull someone’s leg. This underworld euphemism for ‘murder’ dates from the early 1900s. Gangsters first abducted their victims, then took them to a secluded area where they were murdered.

The gang believes he is getting yellow-or soft, and usually takes him for a ride…. (Emanuel H. La vine, The Third Degree , 1930)

Take for a ride also means ‘deceive, cheat’ because the driver is in a position to manipulate or trick. The expression is often used of one who leads another on and then fleeces him.

But the one who really took my friend for a ride was the electrician. He used more … cable … than … it takes to build a battle ship. (Roger W. Babson, in a syndicated newspaper column, 1951)

turn one’s face to the wall To die; more precisely, to make the final gesture of acquiescence indicating that one is about to give up the ghost. The origin is Biblical (2 Kings 22:2); when Hezekiah was informed his death was imminent:

He turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the Lord.

The expression appears in works as varied as Narratives of the Days of the Reformation (1579):

He turned his face to the wall in the said belfry; and so after his prayers slept sweetly in the lord.

and Tom’sawyer (1876):

He would turn his face to the wall, and die with that word unsaid. (Mark Twain)

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Wills take effect on death. For many legal purposes it is possible to obtain a court order declaring that a person died on a certain date by virtue of a presumption of death, which comes into effect in both England and Scotland if a person has not been known to be alive for seven years.

DEATH, med. jur., crim. law, evidence. The cessation of life.      2. It is either natural, as when it happens in the usual course, without any violence; or violent, when it is caused either by the acts of the deceased, or those of others. Natural death will not be here considered further than may be requisite to illustrate the manner in which violent death occurs. A violent death is either accidental or criminal; and the criminal act was committed by the deceased, or by another.      3. The subject will be considered, 1. As it relates to medical jurisprudence; and, 2. With regard to its effects upon the rights of persons.      4.-1. It is the office of medical jurisprudence, by the light and information which it can bestow, to aid in the detection of crimes against the persons of others, in order to subject them to the punishment which is awarded by the criminal law. Medical men are very frequently called upon to make examinations of the bodies of persons. who have been found dead, for the purpose of ascertaining the causes of their death. When it is recollected that the honor, the fortune, and even the life of the citizen, as well as the distribution of impartial justice, frequently depend on these examinations, one cannot but be struck at the responsibility which rests upon such medical men, particularly when the numerous qualities which are indispensably requisite to form a correct judgment, are considered. In order to form a correct opinion, the physician must be not only skilled in his art, but he must have made such examinations his special study. A man may be an enlightened physician, and yet he may find it exceedingly difficult to resolve, properly, the grave and almost always complicated questions which arise in cases of this kind. Judiciary annals, unfortunately, afford but too many examples of the fatal mistakes made by physicians, and others, when considering cases of violent deaths.      5. In the examination of bodies of persons who have come to a violent death, every precaution should be taken to ascertain the situation of the place where the body was found; as to whether the ground appears to have been disturbed from its natural condition; whether there are any marks of footsteps, their size, their number, the direction to which they lead, and whence they came - whether any traces of blood or hair can be found - and whether any, and what weapons or instruments, which could have caused death, are found in the vicinity; and these instruments should be carefully preserved so that they may be identified. A case or two may here be mentioned, to show the importance of examining the ground in order to ascertain the facts. Mr. Jeffries was murdered at Walthamstow, in England, in 1751, by his niece and servant. The perpetrators were suspected from the single circumstance that the dew on the ground surrounding the house had not been disturbed on the morning of the murder. Mr. Taylor, of Hornsey, was murdered in December, 1818, and his body thrown into the river. It was evident he, had not gone into the river willingly, as the hands were found clenched and contained grass, which, in the struggle, he had torn from the bank. The marks of footsteps, particularly in the snow, have been found, not unfrequently, to correspond with the shoes or feet of suspected persons, and led to their detection. Paris, Med. Jur. vol. iii. p. 38, 41.      6. In the survey of the body the following rules should be observed: 1. It should be as thoroughly examined as possible without changing its position or that of any of the limbs; this is particularly desirable when, from appearances, the death has been caused by a wound, because by moving it, the altitude of the extremities may be altered, or the state of a fracture or luxation changed; for the internal parts vary in their position with one another, according to the general position of the body. When it is requisite to remove it, it should be done with great caution. 2. The clothes should be removed, as far as necessary, and it should be noted what compresses or bandages (if any) are applied to particular parts, and to what extent. 3. The color of the skin, the temperature of the body, the rigidity or flexibility of the extremities, the state of the eyes, and of the sphincter muscles, noting at the same time whatever swellings, ecchymosis, or livid, black, or yellow spots, wounds, ulcer, contusion, fracture, or luxation may be present. The fluids from the nose, mouth, ears, sexual organs, &c., should be examined; and, when the deceased is a female, it may be proper to examine the sexual organs with care, in order to ascertain whether before death she was ravished or not. 1 Briand, Med. Leg. 2eme partio, ch. 1, art. 3, n. 5, p. 318. 4. The clothes of the deceased should be carefully examined, and if parts are torn or defaced, this fact should be noted. A list should also be made of the articles found on the body, and of their state or condition, as whether the purse of the deceased had been opened; whether he had any money, &c. 5. The state of the body as to decomposition should be, particularly stated, as by this it may sometimes be ascertained when the death took place; experience proves that in general after the expiration of fourteen days After death, decomposition has so far advanced, that identity cannot be ascertained, excepting in some strongly developed peculiarity; but in a drowned body, adipocire is not produced until five or six weeks after death but this depends upon circumstance's, and varies according to climate, season, &c. It is exceedingly important, however to keep this fact in view in some judicial inquiries relative to the time of death. 1 Chit. Med. Jur. 443. A memorandum should be made of all the facts as they are ascertained when possible, it should be made on the ground, but when this cannot be done, as when chemical experiments are to be made, or the body is to be dissected, they should be made in the place where these operations are performed. 1 Beck's Med. Jur. 5; Dr. Gordon Smith, 505; Ryan's Med. Jur. 145; Dr. Male's Elem. of Judicial and For. Med. 101; 3 Paris & Fonbl. Med. Jur. 23 to 25; Vilanova Y Manes, Materia Criminal Forense, Obs. 11, cap. 7, n. 7; Trebuchet, Medecine Legale, 12, et seq; 1 Briand, Med. Leg. 2eme partie, ch. 1, art. 5. Vide article Circumstances.      7.-2. In examining the law as to the effect which death has upon the rights of others, it will be proper to consider, 1. What is the presumption of life or death. 2. The effects of a man's death.      8.-1. It is a general rule, that persons who are proved to have been living, will be presumed to be alive till the contrary is proved and when the issue is upon the death of a person, the proof of the fact lies upon the party who asserts the death. 2 East, 312; 2 Rolle's R. 461. But when a person has been absent for a long time, unheard from, the law will presume him to be dead. It has been adjudged, that after twenty-seven years 3 Bro. C. C. 510; twenty years in another case; sixteen years; 5 Ves. 458; fourteen years; 3 Serg. & Rawle, 390 twelve years; 18 John. R. 141; seven years; 6 East, 80, 85; and even five years Finch's R. 419; the presumption of death arises. It seems that even seven years has been agreed as the time when death may in general be presumed. 1 Phil. Ev. 159. See 24 Wend. R. 221; 4 Whart. R. 173. By the civil law, if any woman marry again without certain intelligence of the death of her husband, how long soever otherwise her husband be absent from her, both she and he who married her shall be punished as adulterers. Authentics, 8th Coll.; Ridley's View of the Civ. and Ecc. Law, 82.      9. The survivorship of two or more is to be proved by facts, and not by any settled legal rule, or prescribed presumption. 5 B. Adolp. 91; 27 E. C. L. R. 45; Cro. Eliz. 503 Bac. Ab. Execution D; 2 Phillim. 261; 1 Mer. R. 308; 3 Hagg. Eccl. R. 748; But see 1 Yo. & Coll. C. N. 121; 1 Curt. R. 405, 406, 429. In the following cases, no presumption of survivorship was held to arise; where two men, the father and son, were hanged about the same time, and one was seen to struggle a little longer than the other; Cor. Eliz. 503; in the case of General Stanwix, who perished at sea in the same vessel with his daughter; 1 Bl. R. 610; and in the case of Taylor and his wife, who also perished by being wrecked at sea with her, to whom he had bequeathed the principal part of his fortune. 2 Phillim. R. 261; S. C. 1 Eng. Eccl. R. 250. Vide Fearne on Rem. iv.; Poth. Obl. by Evans, vol. ii., p. 345; 1 Beck's Med. Jur. 487 to 502. The Code Civil of France has provided for most, perhaps all possible cases, art. 720, 721 and 722. The provisions have been transcribed in the Civil Code of Louisiana, in these words:     10. Art. 930. If several persons respectively entitled to inherit from one another, happen to perish in the same event, such as a wreck, a battle, or a conflagration, without any possibility of ascertaining who died first, the presumption of survivorship is determined by the circumstances of the fact.     11. Art. 931. lu defect of the circumstances of the fact, the determination must be guided by the probabilities resulting from the strength, ages, and difference of sex, according to the following rules.     12. Art. 932. If those who have perished together were under the age of fifteen years, the eldest shall be presumed to have survived. If both were of the age of sixty-years, the youngest shall be presumed to have survived. If some were under fifteen years, and some above sixty, the first shall be presumed to have survived.     13. Art. 933. If those who perished together, were above the age of fifteen years, and under sixty, the male must be presumed to have survived, where there was an equality of age, or a difference of less than one year. If they were of the same sex, the presumption of survivorship, by which the succession becomes open in the order of nature, must be admitted; thus the younger must be presumed to have survived the elder.     14.-2. The death of a man, as to its effects on others, may be considered with regard, 1. To his contracts. 2. Torts committed by or against him. 3. The disposition of his estate; and, 4. To the liability or discharge of his bail.     15.-1st. The contracts of a deceased person are in general not affected by his death, and his executors or administrators are required to fulfill his engagements, and may enforce those in his favor. But to this general rule there are some exceptions; some contracts are either by the terms employed in making them, or by implication of law, to continue only during the life of the contracting party. Among these may be mentioned the following cases: 1. The contract of marriage. 2. The partnership of individuals. The contract of partnership is dissolved by death, unless otherwise provided for. Indeed the partnership will be dissolved by the death of one or more of the partners, and its effects upon the other partners or third persons will be the same, whether they have notice of the death or otherwise. 3 Mer. R. 593; Story, Partn. Sec. 319, 336, 343; Colly. Partn. 71; 2 Bell's Com. 639, 5th ed.; 3 Kent, Com. 56, 4th ed.; Gow, Partn. 351; 1 Molloy, R. 465; 15 Ves. 218; S. C. 2 Russ. R. 325.; 3. Contracts which are altogether personal; as, for example, where the deceased had agreed to accompany the other party to the contract, on a journey, or to serve another; Poth. Ob. P. 3, c. 7, a. 3, Sec. 2 and 3; or to instruct an apprentice. Bac. Ab. Executor, P; 1 Burn's Just. 82, 3; Hamm. on Part. 157; 1 Rawle's R. 61.     16. The death of either a constituent or of an attorney puts an end to the power of attorney. To recall such power two things are necessary; 1st. The will or intention to recall; and, 2d. Special notice or general authority. Death is a sufficient recall of such power, answering both requisites. Either it is, according to one hypothesis, the intended termination of the authority or, according to the other, the cessation of that will, the existence of which is requisite to the existence of the attorney's power; while on either supposition, the event is, or is supposed to be, notorious. But exceptions are admitted where the death is unknown, and the authority, in the meanwhile, is in action, and relied on. 3 T. R. 215; Poth; Ob. n. 448.     17.-2d. In general, when the tort feasor or the party who has received the injury dies, the action for the recovery of the damages dies with him; but when the deceased might have waived the tort, and maintained assumpsit against the defendant, his personal representative may do the same thing. See the article Actio Personalis moriturcum persona, where this subject is more fully examined. When a person accused and guilty of crime dies before trial, no proceedings can be had against his representatives or his estate.     18.-3d. By the death of a person seised of real estate, or possessed of personal property at the time of his death; his property vests when he has made his will, as he has directed by that instrument; but when he dies intestate, his real estate vests in his heirs at law by descent, and his personal property, whether in possession or in action, belongs to his executors or administrators.     19.-4th. The death of a defendant discharges the special bail. Tidd, Pr. 243; but when he dies after the return of the ca. sa., and before it is filed, the bail are fixed. 6 T. R. 284; 5 Binn. R. 332, 338; 2 Mass. R. 485; 1 N. H. Rep. 172; 12 Wheat. 604; 4 John. R. 407; 3 McCord, R. 49; 4 Pick. R. 120; 4 N. H. Rep. 29.     20. Death is also divided into natural and civil.     21. Natural death is the cessation of life.     22. Civil death is the state of a person who, though possessing natural life, has lost all his civil rights, and, as to them, is considered as dead. A person convicted and attainted of felony, and sentenced to the state prison for life, is, in the state of New York, in consequence of the act of 29th of March, 1799, and by virtue of the conviction and sentence of imprisonment for life, to be considered as civilly dead. 6 Johns. C R. 118; 4 Johns. C. R. 228, 260; Laws of N. Y. Sess. 24, ch. 49, s. 29, 30, 31; 1 N. R. L. 157, 164; Co. Litt. 130, a; 3 Inst. 215; 1 Bl. Com. 132, 133; 4 Bl. Com. 332; 4 Vin. Ab. 152. See. Code Civ. art. 22 a 25; 1 Toull. n. 280 and p. 254, 5, note; also, pp. 243-5, n. 272; 1 Malleville's Discussion of the Code Civil, 45, 49, 51, 57. Biret, Vocab. au mot Effigie.     23. Death of a partner. The following effects follow the death of a partner, namely: 1. The partnership is dissolved, unless otherwise provided for by the articles of partnership. Gow's Partn. 429. 2. The representatives of the deceased partner become tenants in common with the survivor in all partnership effects in possession. 3. Choses in action so far survive that the right to reduce them into possession vests exclusively in the survivor. 4. When recovered, the representatives of the deceased partner have, in, equity, the same right of sharing and participating in them that their testator or intestate would have had had he been living. 5. It is the duty and the right of the surviving partner to settle the affairs of the firm, for which he is not allowed any compensation. 6. The surviving partner is alone to be sued at law for debts of the firm, yet recourse can be had in equity against the assets of the deceased debtor. Gow's Partn. 460. Vide Capital Crime; Dissolution; Firm; Partners; Partnership; Punishment. See, generally, Bouv. Inst. Index, h.t.

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