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Legal Maxims

Legal Maxims

Legal Maxims


Actionable per se

The very act is punishable and no proof of damage is required.

Ad hoc

For the particular end or case at hand.


At another place, elsewhere.

Audi alteram partem

No man shall be condemned unheard.

Amicus Curiae

A friend of court or member of the Bar who is appointed to assist the Court.

Assentio mentium

The meeting of minds, i.e mutual assents.

Bona fide

In good faith.

Casus omissus

Courts have no right to fill up the gaps of the statutes.


A caution registered with the public court to indicate to the officials that they are not to act in the matter mentioned in the caveat without first giving notice to the caveator.

Caveat actor

Let the doer beware.

Caveat emptor

Let the buyer beware.

Caveat venditor

Let the seller beware.


A writ by which orders passed by an inferior court is quashed.

Contempo-ranea exposition est fortissimo in lege

Contemporary interpretation is the best and effective.



Damnum sine injuria

Damage without injury.

De facto

In fact.

De jure

By law.

De novo

To make something anew.


Statement of law made by judge in the course of the decision but not necessary to the decision itself.

Doli incapax

Incapable of crime


Tort of wrongfully holding goods which belong to someone else.

Delegatus non potest delegare

Delegated power cannot be further delegated.

Denatio mortis causa

Gift because of death.

Ejusdem generis

Belonging to the same species or class Homogeneous-Same species interpretation.


Prevented from denying.

Ex parte

Proceedings in the absence of the other party.

Ex gratia

As a favour.

Ex officio

Because of an office held.

Ex visceribus actus

A statute should be read as a whole and between its four corners, i.e. any of its provision should not be interpreted in isolation.

Expressio unius personae vei est exclusion alterius

Mentioning of an express thing excludes the other thing.


Beyond human foresight.

Factum probans

Relevant fact.

Fraus est celare fraudem

It is a fraud to conceal a fraud.

Functus officio

No longer having power or jurisdiction.

Generalia specialibus non-derogent

If there is any contradiction or inconsistency between a special Act and a general Act, then the special Act shall be preferred and it shall remain effective on the general law.

Habeas corpus

A writ to have the body of a person to be brought in before the judge.

Ignorantia facti excusat ignorantia juris non-excusat

Ignorance of facts is excusable. But ignorance of law is no excuse.

Injuria sine damno

Injury without damage.

Ipso facto

By the mere fact.

In prompt

In readiness.

In lieu of

Instead of.

In personam

A proceeding in which relief I sought against a specific person.


Spoken words which are defamatory because they have a double meaning.

interest republicae ut sit finis litium

the interest of State requires that there should be an end to litigation.

In status quo

In the present state.

Jura non remota cause sed proxime spectator

In the sphere of law, attention is given to the proximate cause, and not to the remote cause.

Jus dicere and jus dare

Function of the Judges is to declare the law and not to make the law.

Jus in personam

Right against a specific person.

Jus in rem

Right against the world at large.

Jus non scriptum

Customary law.

Jus scriptum

Written law.


Law or right.

Justitia nemini neganda est

Justice is to be denied to nobody

Lex non a rege est violanda

The law must not be violated even by the king

Locus standi

Right of a party to an action to appear and be heard by the court.

Mala fide

In bad faith.


We command. A writ of command issued by a Higher Court to Government/Public Authority, to compel the performance of a public duty.


Mens rea

Guilty mind.


A wrong or inaccurate name or term.

Modus operandi

Way of working.

Modus Vivendi

Way of living.

Nullum simon sinelege nulla peone sine lege

When there is not any law in existence about any offence from before, then that offence cannot be deemed to be punishable.

Nemo bis punitur pro eodem delicto

Nobody can be twice punished for the same offence

Nemo debet esse judex in propria causa

Nobody can be judge in his own case

Noscitur a socilis

 Ascertaining the meaning of words associated with them-Knowing by association interpretation.


Transaction in which a new contact is agreed by all parties to replace an existing contract.

nullum tempus aut locus occurrit regi

Lapse of time is no bar to crown in proceedings against the offenders.

Onus probandi

Burden of proof.

Per se

By itself

Prima facie

At first sight.


Money which the court orders a man to pay regularly to a woman with whom he has been living and from whom he is separated.

Per curiam

By a court.

Per incuriam

Because of lack of care.

Prima facie

On the face of it

Qui facit per alium, facit per se

He who acts through another acts himself

Quid pro quo

Something for something

Quo warranto

By what authority. A writ calling upon one to show under what authority he holds or claims a public office.

Ratio decidendi

Principle or reason underlying a court judgement.

Res ipsa loquitor

The thing speaks for itself.

Rex non protest peccare

The king can do no wrong

Salus populi est suprema lex

The welfare of the is the supreme law

Status quo

State of things as they are now.

Sine die

“with no day”(indefinitely)

Ubi jus ibi remedium

Where there is a right, there is a remedy

Ut res megis valeat quam paveat

It is better to recognize than not to recognize.

Vis major

Act of God.

Vigilantibus Non Dormentibus Jura Subveniunt

Law assists the vigilant and not those who sleep over their rights.

Volenti non fit injuria

Damage suffered by consent gives no cause of action.


Ban or order not to allow something to become law, even if it has been passed by a parliament.

Vice versa

Reverse position.


Voluntarily giving up or removing the conditions.