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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Id est (i.e) - That is.

Id quod commune est, nostrum esse dicitur - That which is common is said to be ours.

Idem - The same person or thing.

Idem nihil dicere et insufficienter dicere est - It is the same to say nothing as not to say enough.

Ignorantia facti excusat, ignorantia juris non excusat - Ignorance of fact excuses, ignorance of law does not excuse.

Imperium in imperio - A sovereignty within a sovereignty.

Impotentia excusat legem - Impossibility is an excuse in the law.

Impunitas semper ad deteriora invitat - Impunity always leads to greater crimes.

In aequali jure melior est conditio possidentis - When the parties have equal rights, the condition of the possessor is better.

In alta proditione nullus potest esse acessorius; sed principalis solum modo - In high treason no one can be an accessory; but a principal only.

In Anglia non est interregnum - In England there is no interregnum.

In camera - In private.

In casu extremae necessitatis omnia sunt communia - In a case of extreme necessity everything is common.

In criminalibus probationes debent esse luce clariores - In criminal cases the proofs ought to be cleared than the light.

In curia domini regis, ipse in propria persona jura discernit - In the King s Court, the King himself in his own person dispenses justice.

In delicto - At fault.

In esse - In existence.

In extenso - At full length.

In fictione legis aequitas existit - A legal fiction is consistent with equity.

In foro conscientiae - In the forum of conscience.

In futoro - In the future.

In jure non remota causa sed proxima spectatur - In law not the remote but the proximate cause is looked at.

In limine - At the outset, on the threshold.

In loco parentis - In place of the parent.

In mortua manu - In a dead hand.

In novo casu novum remedium apponendum est - In a new case a new remedy is to be applied.

In omni re nascitur res quae ipsam rem exterminat - In everything is born that which destroys the thing itself.

In omnibus - In every respect.

In pari delicto potior est conditio possidentis - When the parties are equally in the wrong the condition of the possessor is better.

In personam - Against the person.

In pleno - In full.

In quo quis delinquit in eo de jure est puniendus - In whatever thing one offends in that he is to be punished according to law.

In re dubia magis inficiatio quam affirmatio intelligenda - In a doubtful matter the negative is to be understood rather than the affirmative.

In republica maxime conservanda sunt jura belli - In a State the laws of war are to be especially observed.

In situ - In its place.

In terrorem - As a warning or deterrent.

In testamentis plenius testatoris intentionem scrutamur - In wills we seek diligently the intention of the testator.

In traditionibus scriptorum non quod dictum est, sed quod gestum est, inspicitur - In the delivery of writings (deeds), not what is said but what is done is to be considered.

In verbis, non verba sed res et ratio quaerenda est - In words, not words, but the thing and the meaning are to be inquired into.

Indicia - Marks, signs.

Injuria non excusat injuriam - A wrong does not excuse a wrong.

Intentio inservire debet legibus, non leges intentioni - Intention ought to be subservient to the laws, not the laws to the intention.

Inter alia - Amongst other things.

Interest reipublicae res judicatas non rescindi - It is in the interest of the State that things adjudged be not rescinded.

Interest reipublicae suprema hominum testamenta rata haberi - It is in the interest of the State that men s last wills be sustained.

Interest reipublicae ut quilibet re sua bene utatur - It is in the interest of the State that every one use properly his own property.

Interest reipublicase ut sit finis litium - It is in the interest of the State that there be an end to litigation.

Interim - Temporary, in the meanwhile.

Interpretare et concordare leges legibus est optimus interpretandi modus - To interpret and harmonize laws is the best method of interpretation.

Interpretatio fienda est ut res magis valeat quam pereat - Such a construction is to be made that the thing may have effect rather than it should fail.

Interruptio multiplex non tollit praescriptionem semel obtentam - Repeated interruption does not defeat a prescription once obtained.

Invito beneficium non datur - A benefit is not conferred upon one against his consent.

Ipsissima verba - The very words of a speaker.

Ipso facto - By that very fact.

Ira furor brevis est - Anger is brief insanity.

Iter arma leges silent - In war the laws are silent.