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Latin Legal Maxims

A verbis legis non est recedendum 

You must not vary the words of a statute.

Absoluta sententia expositore non indiget 

  When you have plain words capable of only one interpretation, no explanation of them is required.

Abundans cautela non nocet

There is no harm done by great caution.

Accusare nemo se debet; accusare nemo se debet nisi coram Deo

No one is bound to accuse himself except to God.

Acta exteriora indicant interiora secreta 

 External actions show internal secrets, i.e., intention may be inferred from a person's actions.

Actus curiae neminem gravabit 

An act of the Court shall prejudice no one.

Adversus extraneos vitiosa possessio prodesse solet  

 Prior possession is a good title of ownership against all who cannot show a better.

Aedificatum solo, solo cedit 

 What is built on the land is to be regarded as having become part of the land.

Aequitas sequitur legem

Equity follows the law.

Affirmanti non neganti incumbit probatio

The burden of proof is upon him who affirms, not upon him who denies.

Ambulatoria est voluntas defuncti usque ad vitae supremum exitum 

The will of a deceased person is ambulatory [revocable] until the last moment of life.

Audi alteram partem

 Hear the other side.

Clausulae inconsuetae semper inducunt suspicionem.

Unusual clauses always excite suspicion.

Consuetudo est altera lex

A custom has the force of law.

Contemporanea exposito est optima et fortissima in lege

The best way to construe a document is to read it as it would have read when made.

Contra preferentum 

If the words in a contract are ambiguous the contract should be interpreted against the one who wrote the words.

Cujus est dare ejus est disponere

 He who gives anything can also direct how the gift is to be used.

Cujus est solum ejus est usque ad coelum

Whose is the soil, his is also that which is above it.

De minimis non curat lex

The law does not concern itself with trifles.

Debitor non praesumitur donare

A debtor is not presumed to give.

Delegatus non potest delegare

A delegate cannot delegate.

Domus sua cuique est tutissimum refugium

To everyone his house is his surest refuge.

Dona clandestina sunt semper suspiciosa

Clandestine gifts are always to be regarded with suspicion.

Eodem modo quo oritur, eodem modo dissolvitur  

What has been effected by agreement can be undone by agreement.

Ex dolo malo non oritur action

 No right of action can have its origin in fraud.

Ex maleficio non oritur contractus

A contract cannot arise out of an illegal act.

Ex nudo pacto non oritur actio.

No right of action arises from a contract entered into without consideration.

Ex turpi causa non oritur actio

An illegal contract cannot be enforced.

Expedit reipublicae ut finis sit litium

It is in the public interest that the decision of cases should be final.

Expressio unius personae vel rei, est exclusio alterius

The express mention of one person or thing is the exclusion of another.

Fractionem diei non recipit lex

The law does not recognize any fraction of a day.

Fraus omnia vitiat

Fraud vitiates everything.

Frustra legis auxilium quaerit qui in legem comittit

 He who offends against the law vainly seeks the help of the law.

Generalia specialibus non derogant  

 General things do not derogate from special things.

Ignorantia juris quod quisque scire tenetur non excusat   

 Ignorance of the law, which everybody is supposed to know, does not constitute an excuse.

Impotentia excusat legem

Impossibility of performance of a legal obligation is a good excuse.

In pari causa potior est condition possidentis

 Everyone may keep what he has got, unless and until someone else can prove a better title.

Injuria non excusat injuriam

One wrong does not justify another.

Interpretatio chartarum benigne facienda est ut res magis valeat quam pereat

The construction of deeds is to be made liberally, so that the thing may survive rather than perish.

Lex non requirit verificari quod apparet curiae

The law does not require verification of that which is apparent to the Court.

Mala grammatica non vitiat chartam

Bad grammar does not vitiate a deed.

Nemo agit in seipsum

No one can take proceedings against himself.

Nemo contra factum suum proprium venire potest

No one can go against his own deed.

Nemo dat quod non habit.

One cannot grant what one does not have.

Nemo debet esse judex in propria causa

No one can be judge in his own cause.

Nemo potest facere per alium, quod per se non potest  

No one can do through another what he cannot do himself.

Nemo tenetur ad impossibile

No one is required to do what is impossible.

Non aliter a significatione verborum recedi oportet quam cum manifestum est aliud sensisse testatorem

There should be no departure from the ordinary meaning of words except where it appears that the testator meant something different.

Non videntur qui errant consentire

Those who are mistaken are not deemed to consent.

Noscitur a sociis T

he meaning of a word can be gathered from the context.

Omnia praesumuntur rite et solemniter esse acta

All acts are presumed to have been done rightly and regularly.

Qui facit per alium facit per se

 He who acts through another is deemed to act in person, i.e., a principal is liable for the acts of his agent.

Qui prior est tempore potior est jure

He who is first in time has the strongest claim in law.

Res inter alios acta alteri nocere non debet

A transaction between others does not prejudice one who was not a party to it.

Rex non potest peccare

The King can do no wrong.

Sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas

So use your property as not to injure your neighbour's.

Verba chartarum fortius accipiuntur contra proferentem

The words of deeds are to be interpreted most strongly against him who uses them.

Volenti non fit injuria

That to which a man consents cannot be considered an injury.


Virtualex.com Ronald J. Cappuccio, J.D., LL.M.(Tax) 1800 Chapel Avenue West Suite 128 Cherry Hill, NJ 08002 Phone:(856) 665-2121      Fax: (856) 665-9005 Email: ron@taxesq.com

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