Saturday, 26 November 2016


Legal Maxims or Axioms are words or phrases which reflect legal principles or ideologies. They are words which serves as memory verses of legal principles and concepts. Legal maxims articulates the foundation upon which the law is built. They are thrust of great antiquity, tested, trusted,cherished and adopted by legal practitioners worldwide.

Ab Absurdo; an evidentiary suggestion or statutory interpretation that is, or leads to, an absurdity.
Aberratio Ictus; the accidental harm to a person; e.g. perpetrator aims at X but by chance or lack of skill hits Y.
Ab initio; from the start; from the beginning.
Acta Exteriora Indicant Interiora Secreta;The outward acts show the secret intentions.
Actio Personalis Moritur Cum Persona; any right of action dies with the person.
Actus Curiae Neminem Gravabit;
 An act of the court shall prejudice no one.
Actus Dei Nemini Facit Injuriam
Latin: An act of God causes legal injury to no one.
Actus Regis Nemini Est Damnosa;
 The law will not work a wrong.
Actus Reus; a prohibited act.
Actus Reus Non Facit Reum Nisi Mens Sit Rea;
conviction of a crime requires proof of a criminal act and intent.
Ad Colligendum Bona;                          for the collection of the goods of the deceased.
Ad Damnum; to the damage.
Ad Hoc;limited in time; to this point.
Ad Infinitum; forever; without limit; indefinitely.
Ad Litem;for the suit.
Ad Proximum Antecedens Fiat Relatio Nisi Impediatur Sententia;
 relative words must ordinarily be referred to the last antecedent, the last antecedent being the last word which can be made an antecedent so as to give a meaning.
Ad Quaestionem Facti Non Respondent Judices, Ad Quaestionem Juris Juratores
 The judge instructs on points of law and the jury decides matters of fact.
Aequum et bonum; what is right and just..
A fortiori; with all the more force.
members of a group having a common male ancestor.
Alea jacta est; the die is cast.
Alia Enormia;
The catch-all phrase in trespass pleadings to refer to all such other harms and damages that may have been caused by the alleged trespasser other than those specified.
A defence to a criminal charge to the effect that the accused was elsewhere than at the scene of the alleged crime.
Alieni juris;
 under the legal authority of another.
Amicus curiae; friend of the court.
Animus; intention.
Animus Contrahendi;
 an intention to contract.
Animus Furandi;an intent to do wrong.
Argumentum Ab Inconvenienti Plurimum Valet In Lege;
An argument drawn from inconvenience is forcible in law.
Audi Alteram Partem
 literally 'hear the other side'.
Audita Querela;
An application to a court after judgment seeking to avoid execution of that judgment because of some event intervening between judgment and execution which compromises the judgment creditor's entitlement to execution.
A Vinculo Matrimonii;of marriage.
Avunculus;a mother's brother.
Bona Fide;
good faith.
Bona Vacantia;
Property that belongs to no person, and which may be claimed by a finder.
Boni Judicis Est Ampliare Jurisdictionem;good justice is broad jurisdiction.
Bonus pater familias; the good family man.
Casus Foederis; treaty event.
Causa Causans;
The real, effective cause of damage.
Causa Proxima Et Non Remota Spectatur; the immediate, not the remote cause, is to be considered.
Causa Sine Qua Non;
An intervening cause of loss which, though not direct, may nonetheless contribute to the loss.
 let him beware. A formal warning.
Caveat Emptor;
 buyer beware.
A formal request to a court challenging a legal decision of an administrative tribunal, judicial office or organization (eg. government) alleging that the decision has been irregular or incomplete or if there has been an error of law.
Cessante Ratione Legis, Cessat Ipsa Lex;
 The reason for a law ceasing, the law itself ceases.
Cestui Que Trust or Cestui Que Use
 the beneficiary of a trust.
Ceteris Paribus;all things being equal or unchanged.
Comitatus; a contract of personal services between a land lord and his men.
Commodum Ex Injuria Sua Nemo Habere Debet; a wrongdoer should not be enabled by law to take any advantage from his actions.
Two or more persons dying at about the same time, usually in the same event, but in circumstances in which it is impossible to determine the order of death.
Communis Error Facit Jus;
 Common error makes right.
A decision achieved through negotiation whereby a hybrid resolution is arrived on an issue, dispute or disagreement, comprising typically of concessions made by all parties, and to which all parties then subscribe unanimously as an acceptable resolution.
Consensus Ad Idem; a meeting of the minds.
Consensus Tollit Errorem;
Consent obviates errors in the course of judicial proceedings.
Companionship, love and affection and intimacy between husband and wife within a mariage.
Consuetudo Volentes Ducit, Lex Nolentes Trahit;
Customs leads the willing, law drags the unwilling.
Contemporanea Expositio;
That the meaning of words in a document are to be understood in the sense which they bore at the time of the document.
Corpus Delicti;the body of the offense.
Crimen Omnia Ex Se Nata Vitiat;
property obtained by crime is tainted (vitiated).
Cuicunque Aliquis Quid Concedit Concedere Videtur Et Id Sine Quo Res Ipsa Esse Non Poluit;
Whoever grants a thing is supposed also tacitly to grant that without which the grant itself would be of no effect.
Cuius Est Solum Ejus Est Usque Ad Caelum;
whose is the soil, his it is even to the skies and to the depths below.
Cuius Est Solum Ejus Est Usque Ad Coelum Et Ad Inferos; for whoever owns the soil, it is theirs up to heaven and down to hell.
Cujus Est Commodum Ejus Debet Esse Incommodum;
Whose is the advantage, his also should be the disadvantage.
Culpa Lata; gross negligence.
Cursus Curiae Est Lex Curiae;
The practice of the court is the law of the court.
Custodia Legis;
In the custody of the law; the taking, seizing or holding of something by lawful authority.
Damnum Absque Injuria;
 harm absent a wrong.
Damnum Injuria Datum;
 wrongful injury to the property of another.
De Bene Esse;
To take something for what it is worth, such as evidence collected for the time being, in the absence of, but in anticipation of, litigation, admissibility to be determined when such thing is sought to be used against another at trial.
De Bonis Non;
 assets not yet administered.
Decree Nisi;
A provisional decision of a court which does not have force or effect until a certain condition is met such as another petition brought before the court or after the passage of a period time.
Dedimus Potestatem de Attornato Faciendo;
 to substitute an attorney.
De Facto; in fact.
De Fide et Officio Judicis non Recipitur Quaestio, sed de Scientia Sive sit Eror Juris sive Facti;
The bona fides and honesty of purpose of a judge cannot be questioned, but his decision may be impugned for error of law or of fact.
De injuria sua propria absque tali causa;of his own wrong (or injury) without any other cause.
De Jure;of the law.
Delegatus Non Potest Delegare;
 a delegate cannot delegate.
A civil law term which imposes liability on a person who causes injury to another, or for injury caused by a person or thing under his custody.
De Minimis Non Curat Lex;
 a common law principle whereby judges will not sit in judgment of extremely minor transgressions of the law.
De Non Apparentibus Et De Non Existentibus Eadem Est Ratio;
 What is not juridically presented cannot be judicially decided.
De Non Sane Memorie; of insane memory.
De Novo; new.
Dicta or Dictum;saying.
Dies Dominicus Non Est Juridicus;
Sunday is not a day for judicial or legal proceedings.
Divorce a Mensa et Thoro;
An obselete form of divorce order which did not end the marriage but allowed the parties to reside separate; in effect, a legal or judicially-sanctioned separation of two married persons.
Dolus Eventualis;
Awareness of the likely outcome of an action.
Dominion Utile;the property rights of a tenant; exclusive right to use a thing
Dominium Directum;
qualified ownership of a land: not having possession or use of property but retaining ownership.
Domitae Naturae;
Animals which are of a nature easily tamed and may be readily domesticated.
Domus Sua Cuique Est Tutissimum Refugium; Every man's house is his refuge.
Donatio Mortis Causa;
A death-bed gift, made by a dying person, with the intent that the person receiving the gift shall keep the thing if death ensues.
Duces Tecum;bring with you.
Dum Casta;for so long as she remains chaste.
Dum Sola;
 for so long as she remains unmarried.
Dum Sola et Casta Vixerit; for so long as she remains single (unmarried) and chaste.
Dum Vidua; for so long as she remains a widow.
Ejusdem or Eiusdem Generis;
Of the same kind or nature.
Emptio or Emtio; for 'purchase' or referring to the contract in which something is bought.
En banc;French; As a full bench.
Error In Objecto;
A mistake by a perpetrator as to the identity of the victim; an error as to the object of his act.
Erunt animae duae in carne una; two souls in one flesh.
Et. al.;and others.
Et Impotentia Excusat Legem;
The law excuses someone from doing the impossible.
Ex Aequo Et Bono; in justice and fairness.
Exceptio Non Adimpleti Contractus;
exception of a non-performed contract.
Ex Debito Justitiae; as of right.
Executio Juris Non Habet Injuriam;
 The execution of the law does no injury.
Ex Juris; outside of the jurisdiction.
Ex officio;by virtue of office.
Ex Parte; outside the awareness of a party; for one party only.
Ex Patriate;
A person who has abandoned his or her country of origin and citizenship and has become a subject or citizen of another country.
Ex Post Facto;after the fact.
Expressio Unius Est Exclusio Alterius;
the expression of one thing is the exclusion of the other.
Ex Rel;on the relation of, or the information of.
Ex Turpi Causa Non Oritur Actio;
Of an illegal cause there can be no lawsuit.
Falsa Demonstratio Non Nacet;
A wrong description of an item in a legal document (such as a will) will not necessarily void the gift if it can be determined from other facts.
Fiat Justitia Ruat Caelum;do justice though the heavens fall.
Fieri Facias;
 that you cause to be made. Mostly used to refer to a writ of judgment enforcement obtained under the old common law of England.
Functus Officio; an officer or agency whose mandate has expired either because of the arrival of an expiry date or because an agency has accomplished the purpose for which it was created.
Furiosi Nulla Voluntas Est; mentally impaired persons cannot validly sign a commit their will.
Furtum; theft or a thing stolen..
Habeas Corpus;a court petition which orders that a person being detained be produced before a judge for a hearing to decide whether the detention is lawful.
Hereditas; the estate of a deceased person.
Hereditas Damnosa; an inheritance that is more of a burden than a benefit.
Hereditas Jacens;an unclaimed estate.
Hostis Humani Generis; the enemy of mankind.
Ignorantia Juris Non Excusat;ignorance of the law is no excuse.
In Absentia; in the absence of.
In Camera
A closed and private session of Court or some other deliberating body.
In Fictione Juris Semper Aequitas Existit;With legal fictions, equity always exists.
In haec verba;verbatim.
In Jure Non Remota Causa Sed Proxima Spectatur;
 In law the near cause is looked to, not the remote one.
In Limine; at the beginning or on the threshold.
In Loco Parentis;
A person who, though not the natural parent, has acted as a parent to a child and may thus be liable to legal obligations as if he/she were a natural parent.
In Pari Delicto;both parties are equally at fault.
In Personam;regarding a person; a right, action, judgment or entitlement that is attached to a specific person(s).
In Rem;regarding a thing; proprietary in nature; a right or judgment related to the use or ownership of an item of property.
Inter Alia;'among other things', 'for example' or 'including'.
Interest Reipublicae Ut Sit Finis Litium
Latin: in the interest of society as a whole, litigation must come to an end.
Inter Partes;n between, among parties.
Interpretatio Cessat in Claris;Interpretation stops when a text is clear.
In Terrorem; in terror, fright, threat or warning.
Inter Se;as between or amongst themselves.
Inter Vivos;from one living person to another living person.
In tota fine erga omnes et omnia;for all purposes, in regards to all and everything.
In Toto; in total.
Intuitu Personae; Because of the person.
Ipso facto;By the act itself.
Ipso jure;by operation of law.
J. D.
Abbreviation for juris doctor or doctor; of jurisprudence and the formal name given to the university law degree in the United States.
A form of judge in early Roman law.
Jura Regalia
Rights which belong to the Crown or to the Government.
The written certification by a judicial officer that a deponent or affiant recognizes and endorses all parts of an affidavit he or she proposes to sign, and confirms that an oath has been administered in this regard to the affiant.
Jure;by right, under legal authority.
Jure Coronae;
A right of the Crown.
Juris Utriusque Doctor; a combined law degree, in both civil and canon law.
Jus; the law or a legal right.
Jus Ad Bellum; the legal authority to wage war.
Jus Cogens;peremptory law.
Jus Detractus;The right to deduct.
Jus Disponendi; The right to dispose of a thing.
Jus Dispositivum;
Law adopted by consent.
Jus Ex Injuria Non Oritur;a legal right or entitlement cannot arise from an unlawful act or omission.
Jus Publicum; legal rights enjoyed by all citizens; more recently used in reference to the right of the public to access shorelines for fishing, boating, swimming, water skiing and other related purposes.
Jus Spatiandi Et Manendi;the right to stray and remain.
An obsolete judicial position of English nobility; that of chief justice of the realm.
Jus Vitae Necisque; Power of life and death.
Leges Posteriores Priores Contrarias Abrogant;Later laws abrogate prior contrary laws.
Lex Causae; law of the cause.
Lex Fori; for the law of the forum.
Lex Loci Contractus;
the law of the place where the contract is made.
Lex Loci Delecti;the place of the wrong.
Lex Non Cogit Ad Impossibilia;
 The law does not compel a man to do that which is impossible.
lex non scripta, diuturni moresconsensus utensium comprobati; Law derived from custom must be firmly entrenched in practice and adopted and followed by tradition.
Lex Scripta;
Written law; statutes.
Lex Situs;
A conflict of law rule that selects the In Jure Non Remota Causa Sed Proxima Spectatur;applicable law based on the venue or location of something.
Lis Pendens; a dispute or matter which is the subject of ongoing or pending litigation.
Locus; the place; venue.
Locus Regit Actum; The law of the place where the facts occurred.
Locus Standi; legal standing before a court.
Lubricum Linquae Non Facile Trahendum Est In Poena;the law tends to overlook rash or inconsiderate language spoken in the heat of the moment.
Mala Fides; bad faith.
Malum in se;something wrong in itself.
Malum prohibitum; wrong because prohibited.
A writ which commands an individual, organization (eg. government), administrative tribunal or court to perform a certain action, usually to correct a prior illegal action or a failure to act in the first place.
Mansuetae Naturae; animals which are now generally domestic, presumed gentle and readily tamed, such as dogs, cats, cows and horses.
Mea Culpa;I am guilty.
Melius Est Petere Fontes Quam Sectari Rivulos;it is better to seek the sources than to follow the tributaries.
Mens Rea;guilty mind; guilty knowledge or intention to commit a prohibited act.
Mobilia Sequuntur Personam, Immobilia Situa;movables follow the person, immovables their locality.
Modus Operandi;method of operation.
Mortis Omnia Solvit;Death puts an end to everything.

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