What is meant by the term "legal proximity?"
"Proximity" is a complex legal concept that refers to the relationship between entities in a criminal or civil case. Those entities can be inanimate objects, or human beings. It is a concept applied according to the dictates of each individual case.
One example of "proximity" could involve items found in a home or business, or any other structure. If those items are physically located next to each other, than law enforcement can conclude that the items are related to each other, and that their geographic closeness is an indication of that linkage. Money found near illegal drugs, or a weapon found near money traced to a robbery, are instances of two items being in close proximity to each other and, consequently, likely linked to each other (the gun was used in the commitment of the robbery; the money was aquired to the illegal sale of drugs).
Proximity can also refer to the stage of a criminal conspiracy wherein the suspects or defendents were in the late stages of planning to commit a crime. Because it is not illegal to think or talk about committing a crime, but it is illegal to be actively planning to commit the crime, the issue of "proximity" is very important in conspiracy cases. It speaks to a determination of how close the defendents actually came to carrying out the crime.
Specific to tort law, the question of "proximity" involves the relationship between the human beings involved in the case. In this instance, proximity refers to the steps or links between injury to one and the actions of another. In other words, how far removed from the defendents actions was the injury to the plaintiff? Was the defendent's actions, or inactions, the proximate cause of the plaintiff's injury, or was the chain of events such that there is no logical linkage between the two events? In a way, one could consider discussions of proximity in these cases a version of "six degrees of separation."
Proximity refers to the relationships between parties, or between objects. It is a routinely used measure of cause and consequence in determining the outcome of civil and criminal trials.