Legal Maxims


                                                   Legal Maxims         

 प्राचीन रोमच्या कायदेशीर व्यवस्थेचा बहुतेक पाश्चात्य देशांच्या कायदेशीर व्यवस्थेवर मोठा प्रभाव आहे. शेवटी, एकेकाळी, रोमन लोकांनी बहुतांष युरोप, मध्य पूर्व आणि उत्तर आफ्रिका जिंकले होते. रोमन ब्रीदवाक्य होतं, "विभागा आणि जिंका "divide and conquer."

खर्‍या रोमन लोकांसारखा विचार करणे, वागणे, आणि खरे रोमन कसे बनायचे हे सर्वांना शिकवणे हेच त्यांचे ध्येय होते

जसजसे रोमन साम्राज्य हळूहळू कोसळले आणि नाहीसे होत गेले, तसतसे या सर्व देशांनी हळूहळू विद्यमान कायदेशीर व्यवस्थेचा स्‍वीकार करायला सुरूवात केली.

 इंग्लंड (आणि त्याच्या पूर्वीच्या बहुतेक वसाहती) आणि युनायटेड स्टेट्स ऑफ अमेरिका येथे "कॉमन लॉ" नावाचा जुना रोमन कायदा वापरला जातो म्हणूनच तेथील वकिलांना आजही लॅटिन वाक्ये आवडतात.

 इंग्रजी कायदेशीर संज्ञा आणि वाक्यांशांमध्‍ये मोठ्‍या प्रमाणात लॅटिन शब्द वापरले जातात. यापैकी अनेक संज्ञा इतक्या सामान्य आहेत की त्‍या आजही कोणत्याही समस्या किंवा गोंधळाशिवाय वापरात आहेत.


१. alibi (अलिबी- इतरत्र, दुसर्‍या ठिकाणी) गुन्‍हा घडला तेव्‍हा तुम्‍ही कुठे होता असे तुम्‍हाला कोणी विचारले तर तुम्हाला माहित आहे की गुन्हा घडला तेव्हा तुम्ही कुठे होता हे सिद्ध करण्यासाठी तुम्हाला हे सांगणे आवश्यक आहे की ज्याने हे भयंकर कृत्य केले ते तुम्ही असू शकत नाही.

२. alias (उर्फ, अन्यथा). आज, अनेक लोक त्‍यांच्‍या नावासोबत उपनाम वापरतात.

३. versus (विरुद्ध किंवा विपरीत) हा शब्‍द बर्‍याचदा संक्षिप्त रूपात वि. (vs) वापरला जाते. अधिक सामान्य इंग्रजी अर्थ " असा आहे. 

 मोठ्या प्रमाणावर वापरल्या जाणार्‍या लॅटिन शब्दांचा आणि कायदेशीर भाषेतील अभिव्यक्तींचा हा छोटासा संग्रह आहे. यापैकी अनेक लॅटिन संज्ञा आधुनिक कायदेशीर परिभाषेत वापरल्या जातात. 

Term or phrase

Literal translation


a posteriori

from later

An argument derived from subsequent event OR from previous event.

ab extra

from outside

Concerning a case, a person may have received some funding from a 3rd party.

ab initio

from the beginning

Commonly used referring to the time a contract, statute, marriage, or deed become legal.

ad interim



actus reus

guilty act

Part of what proves criminal liability

ad hoc

for this

Generally, signifies a solution or posting designed for a specific work, problem or task.

ad infinitum

to infinity

To continue forever, without limit


he has sworn

A formal statement of fact

amicus curiae

friend of the court

A person who offers information to a court regarding a case before it.





for the sake of argument


audi alteram partem

hear the other side

Refers to the idea that one cannot be fairly judged unless the cases for and against them have been heard.





otherwise called 

 otherwise known as used to indicate an additional name that a person 

bona fide

in good faith.

Implies sincere good intention regardless of outcome.


May he beware

When used by itself, refers to a qualification, or warning.


To be apprised, to certify

A type of writ seeking judicial review.

Certiorari means to certify. It is derived from common law. The Writ of Certiorari is corrective in nature. It is a command or an order issued to an inferior court or tribunal, board, authorities, officers by High Court or Supreme Court to submit the records to review.

cogitationis poenam nemo patitur

Nobody suffers punishment for mere intent


compos mentis

Having command of mind


consuetudo pro lege servatur

Custom is held as law

Where no laws apply to a given situation, the customs of the place and time will have the force of law.




contra legem

Against the law

Used when a court or tribunal hands down a decision that is contrary to the laws of the governing state.

Contradictio in adjecto

Contradiction in itself

A contradiction in terms.

coram non judice

Before one who is not a judge

Refers to a legal proceeding without a judge, or with a judge who does not have proper jurisdiction.

crimen falsi

Crime of falsifying


damnum sine injuria


Damages without violation of any legal right.

de facto

In fact


de jure

According to law

something that is established in law, whether or not it is true in general practice.

delegator potestas non potest delegari,

delegate’s protest non delegare


Powers that which has been delegated, cannot delegated [further]

de novo trail


A trail from the beginning, a new or fresh trail

de minimis non curat lex

The law does not concern itself with the smallest [things]

There must be a minimal level of substance or impact in order to bring a legal action.


(thing) said

A statement given some weight or consideration due to the respect given the person making it.

ei incumbit probatio qui dicit

Proof lies on him who asserts.

The concept that one is innocent until proven guilty.

et al

And others

Abbreviation of et alii, meaning "and others".

et uxor

And wife.

Usually used instead of naming a man's wife as a party in a case.

et vir

And husband.

Usually used instead of naming a woman's husband as a party in a case.

ex ante

Of before.

Essentially meaning "before the event"

Ex audita


From hearsay

ex facie

On the face

can be considered void ex facie without any further analysis or arguments.

ex officio

From the office, by virtue of office

Something done or realized by the fact of holding an office or position.

ex parte

From [for] one party

without the other party being present, in absence of opposite party.

ex post

From after

Based on knowledge of the past.

ex post facto

From a thing done afterward

Commonly said as "after the fact.", made after the occurrence.

exempli gratia

For the sake of example

Usually abbreviated "e.g.".


Let it be done

A warrant issued by a judge for some legal proceedings.



An exact copy

fait accompli


No longer worth arguing further

feme covert


A married woman



A court

functus officio


A person who performed his duty

habeas corpus

have the body

A writ used to challenge the legality of detention. Orders the detaining party to “have the (living) body” of the detained brought before the court where the detention will be investigated.

Literally means to have the body. It is a prerogative writ. It is an order of release. It provides a remedy for a person who is wrongfully detained or restrained.


That is

Abbreviation of id est, meaning “that is”, in the sense of restating something that may not have been clear.


In the same place

Abbreviation of ibidem, meaning “in the same place. Used when citing sources, to indicate the cited source came from the identical location as the preceding one.



A feeble minded person, foolish person

ignorantia juris non excusat

Ignorance of the law does not excuse

A principle that states that not having knowledge of a law is not an excuse for breaking it.


Let it be printed.

An authorization for a document to be printed. Used in the context of approval by authority.

in camera

In the chamber

Conducted in private, or in secret. The opposite of in open court.

in curia

In court

Conducted in open court. The opposite of in camera.

in futuro

In the future

Refers to things to come, or things that may occur later but are not so now.

in loco parentis

In the place of a parent

This can be used in transfers of legal guardianship, or in the case of schools or other institutions that act in the place of the parents on a day-to-day basis.

in omnibus

In all

Used to mean “in every respect.” Something applying to every aspect of a situation.

in pari delicto

In equal offense

Used when both parties to a case are equally at fault.

in posterum


In future

in prope persona

On one’s own person

One who represents themselves in court without the assistance of an attorney.

in propria persona

In one’s own proper person

Alternate form of in prope persona. One who represents themselves in court without the assistance of an attorney.

in rem


An act is done with reference to no specific person

in toto

In total

Entirely, wholly

inter vivos

Between the living

Refers to a gift or other non-sale transfer between living parties.

This is in contrast to a will, where the transfer takes effect upon one party’s death.


Within the law

Used in various contexts to refer to the legal foundation for a thing

intra vires

Within the powers

Something done which requires legal authority, and the act is performed accordingly.

ipso facto

By the fact itself

Used in the context that one event is a direct and immediate consequence of another. “In and of itself.”

iudex non calculat

The judge does not calculate

A principle that calculation errors made by the court do not invalidate the judgement on a technicality.

jura novit curia

The court knows the law

Concept that parties to a case do not need to define how the law applies to their case. The court is solely responsible for determining what laws apply.


(He) swears

Appears at the end of an affidavit, where the party making the affirmation signs the oath, and the information on whom the oath was sworn before is placed.


Law, right



Void, gap

A situation arising that is not covered by any law.

lex posterior auditor priority

Later law removes the earlier

More recent law overrules older ones on the same matter.

lex scripta

Written law

Law that specifically codifies something, as opposed to common law or customary law.

lex specialis auditor legi generali

Specific law takes away from the general law

Where several laws apply to the same situation, the more specific one(s) take precedence over more general ones.

lis alibi pendens

Law-suit elsewhere pending

Refers to requesting a legal dispute be heard that is also being heard by another court. To avoid possibly contradictory judgements, this request will not be granted.

lis pendens

Suit pending

Often used in the context of public announcements of legal proceedings to come.




locus standi

Place of standing

The right of a party to appear and be heard before a court.

mala fide

(In) bad faith

A condition of being fraudulent or deceptive in act or belief.

malum in se

Wrong in itself

Something considered a universal wrong or evil, regardless of the system of laws in effect.


We command

A writ issue by a higher court to a lower one, ordering that court or related officials to perform some administrative duty. Often used in the context of legal oversight of government agencies. Mandamus literally means a command. It is issued:
(i) in favour of the person who establishes a legal right in itself,
(ii) against a person who has a legal duty to perform but has failed to do so.

mens rea

Guilty mind

One of the requirements for a crime to be committed, the other being the guilt act.

modus operandi

Manner of operation

A person’s particular way of doing things. Used when using behavioral analysis while investigating a crime. Often abbreviated “M.O.”

mortis causa

Caused by death

Donation that is made in contemplation of death

nemo auditor propriam turpitudinem allegans

no one can be heard, who invokes his own guilt

Nobody can bring a case that stems from their own illegal act

nemo judex in sua causa

no one shall be a judge in his own case

Prevents conflict of interest in courts. Often invoked when there is really no conflict, but when there is even the appearance of one.

nemo plus iuris ad alium transferre potest quam ipse habet

no one can transfer a greater right than he himself has

A purchaser of stolen goods will not become the rightful owner thereof, since the seller himself was not the owner to begin with.



A decree that does not enter into force unless some other specified condition is met.

nolle prosequi

Not to prosecute

A statement from the prosecution that they are voluntarily discontinuing (or will not initiate) prosecution of a matter.

nolo contendere

I do not wish to dispute

A type of plea whereby the defendant neither admits nor denies the charge. Commonly interpreted as “No contest.”

non compos mentis

not in possession of [one’s] mind

not having mental capacity to perform some legal act, Not of sound mind

non est factum

It is not [my] deed

A method whereby a signatory to a contract can invalidate it by showing that his signature to the contract was made unintentionally or without full understanding of the implications.

non faciat malum, ut inde veniat bonum

not to do evil that good may come

Performing some illegal action is not excused by the fact that a positive result came therefrom.


nulla poena sine lege

no penalty without a law

One cannot be prosecuted for doing something that is not prohibited by law.

nullum crimen, nulla poena sine praevia lege poenali

no crime, no punishment without a previous penal law

One cannot be prosecuted for doing something that was not prohibited by law at the time and place it was committed, notwithstanding laws made since that time. A form of prohibition on retroactive laws.

nunc pro tunc

now for then

An action by a court to correct a previous procedural or clerical error.

null and void


No longer valid, legitimate, or enforceable



The burden, load

par delictum

equal fault

Used when both parties to a dispute are at fault

pater familias

father of the family

The head of household, for purposes of considering the rights and responsibilities thereof.

per capita

by head

dividing money up strictly and equally according to the number of beneficiaries

per contra

by that against

Legal shorthand for "in contrast to"

per se

by itself

Something that is, as a matter of law.

prima facie

at first face

A matter that appears to be sufficiently based in the evidence as to be considered true.

post mortem

after death

Refers to an autopsy, or as a qualification as to when some event occurred.

Pro per

“one’s own person”

Representing oneself, without counsel. Also known as pro se representation.

prius quam exaudias ne iudices

do not judge, before you hear


pro forma

as a matter of form

Things done as formalities.

pro tem OR

pro tempore

"for the time being"

Something, such as an office held, that is temporary.



A clause which limits or qualifies the principal clause.


to forbid

The Writ of Prohibition is preventive in nature. It prevents the lower court from exceeding its jurisdiction or usurping the jurisdiction that it does not possess. The Writ of Prohibition is available only against judicial and quasi-judicial authorities.


which; as

In the capacity of


how much



as if

Resembling or being similar to something, without actually being that thing.



Judicial in some sense but not in every sense

quo warranto

by what warrant?

A type of writ. A request made to someone exercising some power, to show by what legal right they are exercising that power.

To check the legality of a person’s claim to a public office. It can be issued to check the claim of public office only.



Specific number of members for forming

ratio decidendi


Reason underlying the decision, the reason for deciding


thing, matter, issue, affair


res derelicata


An abandoned property

res judicata

a matter already judged

A matter that has been finally adjudicated, meaning no further appeals or legal actions by the involved parties is now possible.

respondeat superior

let the master answer

A concept that the master (e.g. employer) is responsible for the actions of his subordinates (e.g. employees).

rex non potest peccare

The king can do no wrong

Used to describe the basis for sovereign immunity

salus populi suprema lex esto

The good of the people shall be the supreme law

Used variously as a motto, a reminder, or a notion of how the law and governments in general should be.

scire facias

let them know

A writ, directing local officials to officially inform a party of official proceedings concerning them.

sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas

use your property so as not to injure that of your neighbors

While an individual is entitled to the use and enjoyment of one's estate, the right is not without limits. Restrictions can give rise to tort actions include trespass, negligence, strict liability, and nuisance.

sine die

without day

Used when the court is adjourning without specifying a date to re-convene. also called adjournment sine die.

status quo

the state in which

In a case of innocent representation, the injured party is entitled to be replaced in statu quo. Note the common usage is status quo from the Latin status quo ante, the "state in which before" or "the state of affairs that existed previously."

sub judice

under the judge

Refers to a matter currently being considered by the court.

suo motu

of its own motion

Refers to a court or other official agency taking some action on its own accord. Similar tosua sponte.


refrain from

A bond tendered by an appellant as surety to the court, requesting a delay of payment for awards or damages granted, pending the outcome of the appeal.

suppressio veri

suppression of the truth

Willful concealment of the truth when bound to reveal it.

suo moto


Suo motu or Suo Moto are interchangeable terms meaning "on its own motion,"



Used in citations to refer to a previously cited source.

ultra vires

beyond the powers

An act that requires legal authority to perform, but which is done without obtaining that authority.



Used in documents in place of the wife's name. Usually abbreviated et ux.


I forbid.

The power of an executive to prevent an action, especially the enactment of legislation.




vice versa

the other way around

Something that is the same either way.



The relationship of one or two persons when situated opposite each other.



Used in citations to refer the reader to another location.


Abbreviation of videlicet


volenti non fit injuria

injury is not done to the willing

Notion that a person cannot bring a claim against another for injury, if said person willingly placed themselves in a situation where they knew injury could result.