Nemo judex in causa sua

Nemo judex in causa sua

Literal Meaning

 “No-one should be a judge in his own case”.


The phrase is credited to Sir Edward Coke in the 17th century.[3]

It is also found in The Moral Sayings of Publius Syrus, a Roman Slave (1856), by Darius Lyman, Jun., A. M.


Nemo judex in causa sua (or nemo judex in sua causa) is a Latin phrase that means, literally, “no-one should be a judge in his own case.” It is a principle of natural justice that no person can judge a case in which they have an interest.[1] The rule is very strictly applied to any appearance of a possible bias, even if there is actually none: “Justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done”.

This principle may also be called:

  • nemo judex idoneus in propria causa est
  • nemo judex in parte sua
  • nemo judex in re sua
  • nemo debet esse judex in propria causa
  • in propria causa nemo judex

The legal effect of a breach of natural justice is normally to stop the proceedings and render any judgment invalid; it should be quashed or appealed, but may be remitted for a valid re-hearing.


If one sits in his own case as a judge and decides the case, the justice delivery system will never be free from criticism. So it is imperative that no one shall be a judge in a case where s/he is either directly or indirectly a party

Cases Referred

Uma Nath Pandey & ors. vs. State of Uttar Pradesh

The first rule is ‘nemo judex in causa sua’ or ‘nemo debet …sua’ as stated in Earl of Derby’s case 1605 12 Co Rep 114, that is, ‘no man shall be a judge in his own cause’. Coke used the form ‘aliquis non debet esse judex in propria …natural justice in judicial process, including therein quasi-judicial and administrative process.

Yunus Khan v. State of Uttar Pradesh and ors.

The legal maxim “nemo debet essejudex in propria causa” (no man shall be a judge in his own…trial. Decision arrived at by such process and order founded on such decision cannot possibly be regarded as valid or binding.”

Edited by Vigneshwar Ramasubramania

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

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