Legal MaximMeaningInterpretation
A fortiori.From strongerA fortiori argument is an “argument from a stronger reason”, meaning that because one fact is true, a second related and included fact must also be true. If something less likely is true, then something more likely will probably be true as well.
Actori incumbit probatioOn the plaintiff rests the provingThe burden of proof is on the plaintiff.
Damnum sine injuria.Damage without legal injuryDamage in the sense of money, Loss of comfort, service, health, etc. without infringement of a legal right/injury to legal right. It refers to an injury that is being suffered by the plaintiff but there is no violation of any legal right of a person. It is not actionable in law even if the act so did was intentional and was done to cause injury to others but without infringing on the legal right of the person
Ut res magis valet quam pereat.It is better for a thing to have effect than to be made void.Liberal interpretations are to be made of deeds, so that the purpose may rather stand than fall; and every grant is to be taken most strongly against the grantor. A construction that reduces the statute to futility has to be avoided. A statute or any enacting provision therein must be so construed as to make it effective and operative on the principle expressed in the maxim. A liberal construction should be put upon written instruments, so as to uphold them, if possible, and carry into effect the intention of the parties.
Audi alteram partem.Let the other side be heard as wellNo person should be judged without a fair hearing in which each party is given the opportunity to respond to the evidence against them
Actus reus.Guilty actThe act that proves criminal liability
Actus non facit reum nisi mens sit reaAn act does not make a man guilty, unless there be guilty intentionAn act does not make a defendant guilty without a guilty mind. In other words, “The act itself does not constitute guilt unless done with a guilty intent.”
ad hominem.At the personIt is used to counter another argument. It is based on feelings of prejudice, rather than facts, reason, and logic. It is often a personal attack on someone’s character or motive rather than an attempt to address the actual issue at hand.
Actus dei nemini facit injuriamThe act of God causes injury to no oneStorms, tempests, and the like, are acts of God, being inevitable accidents not caused by man. When an event is caused by the effect of nature without any human intervention, it is called ‘an act of God.’ No one is responsible for the inevitable accidents. The act of God prejudices no one
Volenti non fit injuria.No injury can be done to a willing personIf a person voluntarily consents to an injury, he must bear the loss. One cannot claim damages for the injury he consented to.
Omnia praesumuntur rite et dowee probetur in contrarium solenniter esse Acta.All the acts are presumed to have been done rightly and regularlyWhen acts are of official nature and went through the process of scrutiny by official persons it is presumed that all things have been rightly and duly performed until it is proved to the contrary
Ubi jus ibi remedium.There is no wrong without a remedy or where there is a legal right there is a remedyAn action will lie for an injury although no actual damage be sustained
Nullus commodum capere Protect De Injuria Sua PropriaNo man can take advantage of his own wrong.A party may not derive advantage from its own unlawful acts.
Ex injuria jus non oritur.Law (or right) does not arise from injusticeA legal right or entitlement cannot arise from an unlawful act or omission. When a fact arises from illegal or unlawful acts or omissions, it cannot form the basis of law or legal rights, even if it is public or prominent
Subla Fundamento cadit opus.A foundation being removed, the superstructure fallsIf the initial action is not in conformity with the law, all subsequent and consequential proceedings fall through for the reason that illegality strikes at the root of the entire event.
Ratio decidendiThe reason for the decision.It is a legal phrase that refers to the legal, moral, political, and social principles used by a court to compose the rationale of a particular judgment
Obiter dictumThat which is said in passing.
An incidental statement. Specifically, in law, it refers to a passage in a judicial opinion that is not necessary for the decision of the case before the court. Such statements lack the force of precedent but may nevertheless be significant
Stare decisis et non quieta movere.The standing of the decision and do not disturb the calm.It is a legal doctrine that obligates courts to follow historical cases when making a ruling on a similar case. It ensures that cases with similar scenarios and facts are approached in the same way. Simply put, it binds courts to follow legal precedents set by previous decisions.
Non obstante verdicto.Notwithstanding the verdictWhen a judge decides to set aside the final decision because she feels the verdict is not reasonably supported by the facts or the law.
Noscitur a sociis.The meaning of a word can be determined by the context of the sentence.The meaning of a word is to be judged by the company it keeps.
nulla poena sine legeEvery criminal law has to fulfill all the qualifications.A person should not be made to suffer a penalty except for a clear breach of existing law
Pacta sund servanda.Agreements must be followedThe parties to an agreement must do their best to fulfill their obligations under it.
Pendente lite.During litigationDuring the suit; while litigation continues
Caveat emptor.Let the purchaser beware.Used for saying that the person who buys something must take responsibility for the quality of goods that he or she is buying
Per incuriam.Through lack of careThe rule of per incuriam can be applied where a court omits to consider a binding precedent of the same court or the superior court rendered on the same issue or where a court omits to consider any statute while deciding that issue
Prima facie.On the face of it.A matter that appears to be sufficiently based on the evidence as to be considered true.
Prior tempore potior iure / lex posteriorEarlier in time, stronger in lawHe who is first in time is stronger in the claim. A legal principle is that older laws take precedence over newer ones.
Animus nocendiIntention to harmIt is the state of mind of the accused relating to the person’s knowledge of the fact that he is committing a crime. That is, the person knows the law forbids the action, appreciates what the outcome of the action will be, and specifically intends to break the law. It is generally absent in the mentally ill and the minors.
Corpus delicti.Body of the crime.Concrete evidence of a crime, such as a corpse
Vigilantibus non dormientibus iura subveniunt.Law aids the vigilant and not the indolent.The law comes to the assistance of those who are vigilant with their rights, and not those who sleep on their rights.
A verbis legis non recedendum estA provision of the law shall not depart; or From the words of the law, there must be no departureThe maxim depends on the interpretation of statutes which determines the intention of the legislature conveyed expressly or impliedly in the language used. The legislature’s intention can be deduced only from the language through which it has expressed itself. Hence, the literal interpretation shall be considered in case of ambiguity. One must not vary the words of the statute while interpreting it. The object is to determine the intention of the legislature conveyed expressly or impliedly in the language used
Accessorium non ducit sed sequitur suum principale.The accessory does not lead but follows its principal.This maxim is applicable to the real owner of the property. It may be added that once it is established that the plaintiff has acquired the status of a non-occupancy right in respect of any portion of the original land, he is entitled to possession of the land which has been accredited to his holding. The former is the principle followed by the latter, the accessory.
Nemo tenetur accusare se ipsum nisi coram DeoNo one, except before God.This legal maxim denotes that any accused person is entitled to make a plea of not guilty, and also that a witness is not obliged to give a response or submit a document that will incriminate himself. For not only does our law refuse to call on a man to accuse himself, but it will not admit his confession unless it be shown to have been made freely and voluntarily.
Acta exteriora indicant interiora secretaDone without indicating the inner secrets. Overt acts make known latent thoughts, or Acts indicate the intentionOutward acts indicate the intent hidden from within. You are presumed to intend the natural consequences of your actions.
Actio personalis moritur cum personaAction dies with the person.According to the maxim, actions of tort or contract are destroyed by the death of either the injured or the injuring party. Some legal causes of action can no longer be brought after a person dies, in some cases, defamation. It has also been applied to actions arising out of contracts of a purely personal nature, e.g., a promise to marry.
Actus curiae neminem gravabit.Court actions could be heavy.According to the maxim, if in a case, any undeserved or unfair advantage has been gained by a party invoking the jurisdiction of the Court, the same requires to be neutralized. In other words, no man should suffer because of the fault of the court or delay in the procedure. It is not only within the power but a duty as well, of Court to correct its own mistakes in order to see that no party is prejudiced by a mistake of the Court.
Benignae faciendae sunt interpretationes chartarum, ut res magis valeat quam pereat.Liberal constructions and interpretations are different, so they have an effect rather than fail.Constructions of documents are to be made favorably, that the instrument may rather avail than perish
Bis dat qui cito dat.He gives twice and gives quicklySomething that is given quickly without hesitation is worth twice as much. Something given expeditiously is far preferable to the same thing given later.
Jus ad rem.Right to the point.personal right to possession of property usually arises from a contractual obligation (as a lease). A right without possession; an inchoate or incomplete right to a thing
Clausulae inconsuetae semper inducunt suspicionem.Unusual clauses always excite suspicion.An unusual provision in an instrument, whereby the draftsman of the instrument obtains an advantage over the other party, excites suspicion of a fraudulent motive.
Actus me invito, non est meus actus.The act done by me against my will is not my act.This maxim specifically means that to do an act, one’s consent and knowledge is required. If the act is committed is done under coercion or undue influence, such act will not be called as the act of doer
Aequitas factum habet quod fieri oportuitEquity looks upon that as done which ought to have been done.The doctrine of satisfaction well illustrates this principle of law. Where a person is under an obligation to perform an act, equity looks on it as done, and allows the same results to follow as if it were actually done.
Ad questiones facti non respondent judices; ad questiones legis non respondent juratoresThe judges do not answer a question of fact; the jury does not answer a question of Law.The jury is the trier for facts, determining which are and which are not credible. It is the judge who is the trier of law, who determines whether or not a law is appropriate for application to a set of facts, such as determining that there is insufficient evidence to bring a specific criminal charge or civil case.
Aequitas nunquam contravenit legesEquity cannot contradict the lawMaxim is based on the principle of promoting the fair process of judgment in accordance with the law. The judicial remedies are always made to provide more flexible responses to changing social conditions
Aequitas sequitur legemEquity follows the lawIt is a concept that equity or the law will not aid a person or party who is at fault. The law will not aid a person whose own fault is what made the legal action necessary. It is interpreted as law is about what is fair and equitable
Agentes et consentientes pari poena plectenturActing and consenting parties are liable to the same punishmentsA person aiding and abetting the actual commission of a crime, either at the scene of its commission or elsewhere, is equally liable as the perpetrator.
Alienatio rei praefertur juri accrescendi.Alienation is preferred by the law rather than accumulation.This is a general economic principle that there should be free circulation and disposition of property. An absolute restart is repugnant to the nature of the estate and is an exception to the very essence of the grant.
Auegans contraria non est audiendus.One making contradictory statements is not to be heard.It is a principle of good faith that a person should not be allowed to testify hot and cold at different times about the same event, denying today, affirming tomorrow. It is a concept of common sense and is used to bring cross-examination to an abrupt end. This principle works as estoppel.
Allegans suam turpitudinem non est audiendus.A party alleging his own infamy/turpitude is not to be heard.When a person does an act that may be rightfully performed. He cannot say that such an act was intentionally done wrongly.
Ambiguitas contra stipulatorem est.Ambiguity against using it.Ambiguity is most strongly construed against the party using it
Ambiguitas verborum latens verificatione suppletur nam quod ex facto oritur ambiguum verificatione facti tollitur.But the latent ambiguity of words is the verification of the supplies; We have become doubtful on the verification of the fact that it is taken away from the action. It begins at the “In fact”.A latent ambiguity may be corrected by evidence; for an ambiguity that arises from an extrinsic fact may be removed by proof of the fact
Amicus curie.A friend of the court.An impartial advisor to the court of law
Quicquid plantatur solo, solo cedit. Whatever is affixed to the soil belongs to the soil.Something that is or becomes affixed to the land, becomes part of the land; therefore, the title to the fixture is a part of the land and passes with the title to the land. Consequently, whosoever owns that piece of land will also own the things attached
Aqua currit et debet currere, ut currere solebat.Water runs and ought to run as it has used to run.Water is the common and equal property of everyone through whose domain it flows.
Actori incumbit onus probandi.The actor rests the burden of proofThe burden of proof lies on the plaintiff. Every plaintiff at law or complainant at equity must show a good title or claim before he can prevail in his suit.
Cognovit actionemShe knew the action.One has confessed the action.
Quando aliquid prohibetur ex directo, prohibetur et per obliquumWhat cannot be done directly cannot also be done indirectly.It determines the questions of competency to enact a law when a legislature oversteps its conferred power and legislates upon something indirectly which it can’t do in a direct manner
Debitum in praesenti, solvendum in futuro.Debt in the present, to be paid in the futureIt means that while an action may be brought on debt due at present, no action lies in the case of a debt due in the future until it becomes due
Delegatus non potus delegare.A delegate or deputy cannot appoint anotherThe rule is that a person to whom a power, trust, or authority is given to act on behalf, or for the benefit of, another, cannot delegate this obligation unless expressly authorized to do so.
Detur Digniori.Let it be given to more worthyWhere the Crown’s right and that of a subject meet at one and the same time, that of the Crown is in general preferred, the rule being ‘detur digniori’.
Dominus LitisOwner of riot.The master of the suit; i.e. the person who was really and directly interested in the suit as a party, as distinguished from his attorney or advocate. But the term is also applied to one who, though not originally a party, has made himself such, by intervention or otherwise, and has assumed entire control and responsibility for one side and is treated by the Court as liable for costs
Donatio Mortis Causa.A gift in anticipation of death.For this gift to be valid, it must be made by the giver, in anticipation of his death and intended to take effect only upon his death. It must be made to the donee, either for his own use, or upon trust for another person, or for a particular purpose, e.g., the gift of a cheque upon the donor’s banker is not good as a donatio mortis causa, because it is a gift which can only be made effectual by obtaining payment of it in the donor’s lifetime and is revoked by his death. But a deposit in the Post Office Savings Bank can be subject to such a gift.

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