Legal Latin maxims and expressions


Legal Latin columns

Latin maxims and legal phrases are sometimes compared to axioms in geometry. These are the established universal principles of law, usually well known to people in the legal profession. However, it must be said that these pages can in no circumstances be used as a source of legal advice, legal counseling and/or simple recommendation on any matter, including but not limited to judicial proceedings of criminal, civic, family, common law and Court TV. By choosing to read the text below you, the reader, scienter relinquish any right to use these maxims for any purpose other than personal use without expressed written consent etc., etc. In other words, folks, if you need a lawyer, get a lawyer. If you need a law degree - get a law degree. Of course, if you happen to be a lawyer, here is your chance to breathe some life into your Latin. If instead of legal maxims you need more general Latin expressions, I have special pages dedicated to mottos, sayings, quotes, slogans etc.

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Cadit quaestio - The matter admits of no further argument.

Cassetur billa (breve) - Let the writ be quashed.

Casus fortuitus non est spectandus; et nemo tenetur divinare - A fortuitous event is not to be foreseen and no person is bound to divine it.

Catalla reputantur inter minima in lege - Chattels are considered in law among the minor things.

Causa proxima, non remota spectatur - The immediate, and not the remote cause is to be considered.

Caveat emptor - Let the purchaser beware.

Caveat venditor - Let the seller beware.

Cepi corpus et est languidum - I have taken the body and the prisoner is sick.

Cepi corpus et paratum habeo - I have taken the body and have it ready.

Ceteris paribus - Other things being equal.

Consensu - Unanimously or, by general consent.

Consensus ad idem - Agreement as to the same things.

Consuetudo loci observanda est - The custom of the place is to be observed.

Contemporanea expositio est optima et fortissima in lege - A contemporaneous exposition is best and most powerful in law.

Contra - To the contrary.

Contra bonos mores - Against good morals.

Contra non valentem agere nulla currit praescriptio - No prescription runs against a person not able to act.

Contractus est quasi actus contra actum - A contract is an act as it were against an act.

Conventio et modus vincunt legem - A contract and agreement overcome the law.

Conventio privatorum non potest publico juri derogare - An agreement of private persons cannot derogate from public right.

Coram Domino Rege - In the presence of our Lord the King.

Coram non judice - Before one who is not a judge.

Corpus - Body.

Corpus delicti - The body, i.e. the gist of crime.

Corpus humanum non recipit aestimationem - A human body is not susceptible of appraisement.

Crescente malitia crescere debet et poena - Vice increasing, punishment ought also to increase.

Crimen omnia ex se nata vitiat - Crime vitiates every thing, which springs from it.

Crimen trahit personam - The crime carries the person.

Cujus est dare, ejus est disponere - He who has a right to give has the right to dispose of the gift.

Cujus est solum, ejus est usque ad coelam; et ad inferos - He who owns the soil owns it up to the sky; and to its depth.

Cum duo inter se pugnantia reperiuntur in testamentis ultimum ratum est - When two things repugnant to each other are found in a will, the last is to be confirmed.

Cursus curiae est lex curiae - The practice of the court is the law of the court.

Custos morum - A guardian of morals.