Legal Maxims

Legal Maxims
  • Actionable per se: The very act is punishable and no proof of damage is required.
  • Actus Reus Non Facit Reum Nisi Mens Sit Rea: Conviction of a crime requires proof of a criminal act and intent. or an act does not make a defendant guilty without a guilty mind. or an act does not constitute guilt unless done with a guilty intention.
  • Ad hoc: For the particular end or case at hand.
  • Alibi: At another place, elsewhere.
  • Amicus Curiae: A friend of court or member of the Bar who is appointed to assist the Court.
  • Ante Litem Motam: Before suit brought; before controversy instituted, or spoken before a lawsuit is brought.
  1. Assentio mentium: The meeting of minds, i.e. mutual assents.
  1. Audi alteram partem: No man shall be condemned unheard.
  1. Bona fide: In good faith.
  1. Bona vacantia: Goods without an owner.
  1. Caveat emptor: Let the buyer beware.
  1. Caveat venditor: Let the seller beware.
  1. Corpus delicti: The facts and circumstances constituting a crime and Concrete evidence of a crime, such as a corpse (dead body).

Also, it refers to the principle that ‘a crime must be proved to have occurred before a person can be convicted of committing that crime.’

  1. Damnum sine injuria: Damage without injury.
  1. De facto: In fact.
  1. De jure: By law.
  • De novo: To make something anew.
  • Dictum: Statement of law made by judge in the course of the decision but not necessary to the decision itself.
  • Doli incapax: Incapable of crime.
  • Estoppel: Prevented from denying.
  • Ex gratia: As favour.
  • Ex officio: Because of an office held.
  • Ex parte: Proceedings in the absence of the other party.

It is a law that retroactively changes the legal consequences (or status) of actions that were committed, or relationships that existed, before the enactment of the law. In criminal law, it may criminalise actions that were legal when committed; it may aggravate a crime by bringing it into a more severe category than it was in when it was committed; it may change the punishment prescribed for a crime, as by adding new penalties or extending sentences; or it may alter the rules of evidence in order to make conviction for a crime likelier than it would have been when the deed was committed.

  • Ignorantia juris non excusat: Ignorance of the law excuses not or Ignorance of the law excuses no one.

In other words, A person who is unaware of a law may not escape liability for violating that law merely because one was unaware of its content.

  • Injuria sine damnum: Injury without damage.
  • Ipso facto: By the mere fact.
  • In promptu: In readiness.
  • In lieu of: Instead of.
  • In personam: A proceeding in which relief I sought against a specific person.
  • Inter alia: Among other things.
  • Jus in personam: Right against a specific person.
  • Locus standi: Right of a party to an action to appear and be heard by the court and be heard by the court.
  • Modus operandi: Way of working.
  • Obiter dictum: Things said by the way. It is generally used in law to refer to an opinion or non-necessary remark made by a judge. It does not act as a precedent.

In other words, Obiter dictum means “that which is said in passing,” an incidental statement. Specifically, in law, it refers to a passage in a judicial opinion which is not necessary for the decision of the case before the court. Such statements lack the force of precedent but may nevertheless be significant.

  • Onus probandi: Burden of proof.
  • Pacta Sunt Servanda: Agreements must be kept. or Agreements are legally binding.

In International Agreements it means ‘every treaty in force is binding upon the parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith.’

  • Per curiam (decision or opinion): By the court.

In other words, the decision is made by the court (or at least, a majority of the court) acting collectively.

  • Per se: By itself.
  • Prima facie: On the face of it.
  • Qui facit per alium, facit per se: He who acts through other acts himself.

In simple words, it is a fundamental legal maxim of the law of agency. It is a maxim often stated in discussing the liability of the employer for the act of employee in terms of vicarious (indirect, second-hand) liability.

  • Quid pro quo: Something for something.
  • Ratio decidendi: Principle or reason underlying a court judgement. or the rule of law on which a judicial decision is based.
  • Respondent superior: Let the master answer.

For example, there are circumstances when an employer is liable for acts of employees performed within the course of their employment. This rule is also called the master-servant rule.

  • Res Judicata: A matter already judged.
  • Suo Motu: On its own motion.
  • Uberrima fides (sometimes uberrimae fidei): Utmost good faith.
  • Ubi jus ibi remedium: Where there is a right, there is a remedy.
  • Vis major: Act of God.

In other words, if someone willingly places himself in a position where he knows that harm might result, then he is not able (allowed) to bring a claim against the other party in tort or delict (a violation of the law).

  • Vox populi: Voice of the people. or the opinion of the majority of the people.
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I am Palak Gupta. I am currently pursuing my Bachelor of Business Administration and Bachelor of Laws (BBA.LLB) from Symbiosis Law School, Nagpur. There, I’ve had many chances to learn and gain in this industry. As a law student, my areas of interest are Family Law and Corporate Law. Being an enthusiast, I have always liked to push my boundaries and get myself out of my comfort domain. I wish to continue my avid journey in a similar manner going forward in this institution.