Legal Maxims and Technical Words

  1. Ab abusu ad usum non valet consequential – No valid conclusion as to the use of a thing can be drawn from its abuse.

  2. Ab antique – From old times.

  3. Ab assnetis non fit injuria – From things to which we are accustomed no wrong can arise.

  4. Ab initio – From the initial stage.

  5. Accessio cedit principali – This maxim embodies the doctrine of accession and means that an accessory thing, when annexed to a principal thing, thereby and thereupon becomes part of, and the property of the owner of the principal thing.

  6. Accessorium non ducit sed sequitur sum principale – The incident shall pass by the grant of the principal but not the principal by the grant of the incident.

  7. Accessorium non trabit principale – The accessory right does not control the principal.

  8. Accessorium sequitur principale – An accessory right follows its principal.

  9. Accessorius sequitur naturam sui principalis – An accessory follows the nature of its principal.

  10. Accusare nome se debet, nisi coram deo – No one is compelled to accuse himself, except before God.

  11. Acquitas agit in personam – Equity acts in person.

  12. Acta exteriora indicant interiora secreta – Overt acts proclaim a man’s intentions and motives.

  13. Actio – A means by which a person who has acquired a right may prosecute and enforce it by process of law, if it is contested.

  14. Actio ad sepplendam legitimam – A civil law action brought by a person claiming a statutory share of a descendant’s estate to compel the beneficiaries under the will to contribute to furnish his statutory share.

  15. Actio adjecticiae qualitatis – A civil law action in which the defendant was sued on a contract made for him by his agent.

  16. Actio arbitraria – A Roman law action in which the judex was permitted to order payment of money or to order restitution in kind, taking all the circumstances of the case into consideration.

  17. Actio civilis – An action based upon the civil law.

  18. Actio de in rem verso – A civil law action against the master of a slave on an obligation incurred by the slave, where the master had profited by the transaction and the slave had nothing.

  19. Actio emit – A civil law action by the vendee against the vendor to recover the thing sold upon payment of the price.

  20. Actio personalis moritur cum persona – A personal right of action dies with the person.

  21. Actori incumbit onus probandi – The burden of proof lies on the plaintiff or on the complainant.

  22. Actus curioe neminem gravabit – Acts of the court prejudice none.

  23. Actus Dei nemini facit injuriam – The act of God does injury to no man – If struck by lightening you are from a legal standpoint entirely uninjured whatever may be your own impression on the subject.

  24. Actus me invito non est meus actus – An involuntary act is not one’s own act.

  25. Actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea – The act alone does not make the doer of it guilty, unless it is done with a guilty mind. Material without formal wrong doing is not a ground of liability. The presence either of wrongful intent or of culpable negligence is a necessary condition of responsibility.

  26. Ad idem (At the same point) – Said of negotiating parties when they are quite agreed, so that a binding contract has been made between them. So long as any new term is put forward by one party and not accepted by the other, this cannot be.

  27. Ad infinitum – Without limits: the infinity.

  28. Ad questions facit non respondent judices; ad questions legis non respondent juratores – A judge does not decide questions of fact; the jury do not decide questions of law.

  29. Adversus extraneous vitiosa possession prodesse solet – Prior possession is a good title of ownership against all who cannot show a better.

  30. Aequitas est quasi equalitas – Equity delighteth in equality.

  31. Aequitas factum habet quod fieri oportuit – Equity considers that as done which ought to have been done.

  32. Aequitus sequitur legume – Equity follows the law.

  33. Agentes et consentientes pari poena plectautur – Acting and consenting parties are liable to the same punishment.

  34. Alibi – In criminal law, else where; in another place.

  35. Aliud est possidere, aliud esse in possessione – It is one thing to possess, another to be in possession.

  36. Allegans contraria non est audiendus – Contrary allegations are not to be heard – The point is fairly well expressed in the common proverbial saying, “You cannot blow hot and cold”.

  37. Allegans suam turpitudinem non est audiendus – A person alleging his own infamy is not to be heard.

  38. Ambiguitas contra stipulatorem est – An ambiguity is taken against the party using it.

  39. Ambiguitas verborum latens verificatione suppletur: nam duod ex facto oritur ambiguum verification facti tollitur – A hidden ambiguity of the words may be interpreted by evidence: for an ambiguity which arose from proof of extrinsic facts may be removed in like manner.

  40. Ambiguitas verborum patens nulla verification excluditur – A patent ambiguity of the words cannot be removed by extrinsic evidence.

  41. Amicus curiae – When a court of justice is in doubt or in error in a matter of law, any of the counsel present may inform the court upon it, out of a regard for the court merely.

  42. Animus possidendi – Intent to exclude others from interfering with a material object.

  43. Animus sibi habendi – Possession is the effective realization in fact of the animus sibi habendi.

  44. Ante natus – A child born before the actual marriage of its parent.

  45. Ante netal – Before delivery

  46. Apices juris non sunt jura – The law must avoid the falsehood of extremes. Legal principles must not be carried to their most extreme consequences, regardless of equity and good sense. A principles valid within certain limits, becomes false when applied beyond these limits.

  47. Aqua credit solo – Water passes with the soil.

  48. Aqua currit et debt currere – Acqua flows and should be allowed to flow.

  49. Assumpsit – An action for the recovery of damages, whether liquidated or not.

  50. Atturnamentum – Transfer of mediate possession, while the immediate possession remains outstanding in some third person.

  51. Audi alteram partem – Hear the other side. It has long been a received, rule that no one is to be condemned, punished, or deprived of property in any judicial proceeding, unless he has had an opportunity of being heard.

  52. Autrefois acquit – Declared acquittal by a court.

  53. Autrefois convict – Convicted by court.

  54. A verbis legisnon est recedendum – Acts, regulations and statutes should be literally construed.

  55. Bellum ominium contra ommes – Everybody is at war with everybody else.