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Ubi Eadem Ratio Ibi Idem Jus

like reason doth make like law. The law consists, not in particular instances and precedents, but in the reason of the law ;(Ashby V. White) for reason is the life of the law,—nay, the common Read More

Omnis Innovatio Plus Novitate Perturbat Quam Utilitate Prodest

Every innovation occasions more harm and derangement of order by its novelty, than benefit by its abstract utility. It has been an ancient observation in the laws of England, that, whenever a standing rule of law, of which the reason, perhaps, could not be remembered or discerned, has been wantonly broken in upon by statutes or new resolutions, the wisdom of the rule has Read More

De Minimis Non Curat Lex

The law does not concern itself about trifles. Courts of justice do not in general take trifling and immaterial matters into account ;(Graham v. Berry) and they will not, for instance, take notice of the fraction of a day, except in those cases where there are conflicting rights, for the determination of which it is necessary that they Read More

Communis Error Facit Jus

Common error sometimes passes current as law. The law so favors the public good, that it will jn some cases permit a common error to pass for right;(Jones v. Tapling) as an instance of which may be mentioned the case of common recoveries which were fictitious proceedings introduced by a kind of jwia fraus to elude the statute de Bonis, and which were at length allowed by the courts to be a bar to an estate tail, so that these Read More

Consensus tollit Errorum

The acquiescence of a party who might take advantage of an error obviates its effect. if the venue in an action is laid in the wrong place, and this is done per assensum *partium, with L " -I the consent of both parties, and so entered of record, it shall stand ; (Fineux v. Hovenden) and where, by consent of both plaintiff and defendant, the venue was laid in London, it was held, that no objection could afterwards be taken to the venue, notwithstanding it ought, under a particular Act of Parliament, to have been laid in. Surrey, for per Curiam—Consensus tollit errorem. (Furnival v. Stringer) Consent cannot, however (unless by the express words of a statute), give jurisdiction, for a mere nullity cannot Read More


The practice of the Court is the law of the Court "Every court is the guardian of its own records and master of its own practice;" and where a practice has existedit is convenient (unless in cases of extreme urgency and necessity) to adhere to it, because it is the practice, even though no reason can be assigned for it; for an inveterate practice in the law generally stands upon principles that are founded in justice and convenience. Read More


The law will not in its executive capacity work a wrong. It was a rule of the Roman, as it is of our own, law, that if an action be brought in a court which has jurisdiction, upon insufficient grounds or against the wrong party, no injury is thereby done for which an action can be maintained-Is qui jure publico vtitur non videtur injurice faciendce causa hoc facere, juris enim executio non habet injuriam; and Nullus videtur dole facere qui suo jureutitur, he is not to be esteemed a wrongdoer who merely avails himself of his legal rightsRead More

Actus Lesis Nemini est damnosus

An act in law shall prejudice no man Thus, the general principle is, that if a man marry his debtor, the debt is thereby extinguished; but still a case may be so circumstanced as not to come within that rule ; for instance, a bond conditioned for the payment of money after the obligor's death, made to a woman in contemplation of the obligor's marrying her, and intended for her benefit if she should survive, is not released by the marriage, Read More

Actus Curle Neminem Gravabit

An act of the Court shall prejudice no man. The above maxim " is founded upon justice and good sense ; and affords a safe and certain guide for the administration of the law." In virtue of it where a case stands over for argument from term to term on account of the multiplicity of business in the court, or for judgment from the intricacy of the question, the party ought not to be prejudiced by that delay, but should be allowed Read More

Nemo debet esse Judex in propria sua Causa

No man can be judge in his own cause. It is a fundamental rule in the administration of justice, that a person cannot be judge in a cause wherein he is interested: nemo sibi esse Judex vel suis jus dicere debet ; and, therefore, in the reign of James I., it was solemnly adjudged that the king cannot take any cause, whether civil or criminal, out of any of his courts, and give judgment upon it himself; but it must be determined and adjudged in some court of justice according to the law and custom of England; and in the case referred to, "the judges Read More

Audi alteram Partem

No man should be condemned unheard. It has long been a received rule,^ that no one is to be condemned, punished, or deprived of his property in any judicial proceeding, unless he has had an opportunity of being heard. A statute establishing a gas-light company enacted that if any person should refuse or neglect, for a period of ten days after demand, to pay any rent due from him to the company for the supply of gas, such rent should be recovered by the company or their clerk by warrant of a justice of the peace and execution Read More

In praesentia majoris cessat potentia minoris

In presence of the major the power of the minor ceases. This maxim is usually cited with special reference to the transcendant nature of the powers vested in the Court of Queen's Bench, and therefore, although akin to one subsequently noticed, may properly be included in this section. The high court just named keeps all inferior jurisdictions within the bounds of their authority and corrects irregularities in their proceedings. It commands magistrates Read More


It is the office of the judge to instruct the jury in points of law—of the jury to decide on matters of facThe object in view on the trial of a cause is to find out, by due examination, the truth of the point in issue between the parties, in order that judgment may thereupon be given, and therefore the facts of the case Read More


Where a person does an act by command of One exercising judicial authority, the law will not suppose that he acted from any wrongful or improper motive, because it was his bounden duty to obey Where a Court has jurisdiction of the cause, and proceeds inversoordine, or erroneously, then the party who sues, or the officer or minister of the Court who executes according to its tenor(Munday v. Stubbs) the precept or process of the Court, will not be liable to an actionRead More

De Fide et Officio Judicis non recipitur QuaESTio, sed de SCIENTIA SIVe SIT ErROR JuRIS SIVE FaCTI

The bona fides and honesty of purpose of a judge cannot be questioned, but his decision may be impugned for error either of law or of fact. The law, says Lord Bacon, has so much respect for the certainty of judgments, and the credit and authority of judges, that it will not permit any error to be assigned which impeaches them in their rust and office, and in wilful abuse of the same, but only in ignorance andRead More


A man cannot abjure his native country nor the allegiance which he owes to his sovereign The law of England, and of almost all civilized countries, ascribes to each individual at his birth two distinct legal states or conditions ; one by virtue of which he becomes the subject of some particular country, binding him by the tie of natural allegiance, and which may be called his political status ; another by virtue of which he has ascribed to him the character of a citizen of some particular country, Read More

Roy n'est lie per ascun Statute, si il ne soit expressement nosme

The king is not hound by any statute, if he be not expressly nam,ed to be so bound. The king is not bound by any statute, if he be not expressly named therein, unless there be equivalent words, or unless the prerogative be included by necessary implication ; for it- is inferred, prima facie, that the law made by the Crown, with the assent of the Lords and CommonsRead More

QuANDO Jus Domini Regis et Subditi Concurrunt, Jus Regis praeferri debet

Where the title of the king and the title of a subject concur, the king's title shall he preferred.. In the above case, detur digniori is the rule,° and accordingly, if a chattel be devised to the king and another jointly, the king shall have it, there being this peculiar quality inherent Read More

NoN POTEST Rex Gratiam facere cum Injuria et Damno ALIORUM

The king cannot confer a favor on one subject which occasions injury and loss to others. It is an ancient and constant rule of law, that the king's grants are invalid when they destroy or derogate from rights, privileges, or immunities previously vested in another subject: the Crown, for example, cannot enable a subject to erect a market or fair so near that of another person Read More

Nullum Tempus occurrit Regi

Lapse of time does not bar the right of the Crown. the sovereign's incapability of doing wrong, the law also determines that in the Crown there can be no negligence or laches ; and, therefore, it was formerly held, that no delay in resorting to his remedy would bar the king's right; for the time and attention of the sovereign must be supposed to be occupied by the Read More

Rex non potest peccare.

The king can do no wrong.It is an ancient and fundamental principle of the English constitution, that the king can do no wrong.'' But this maxim must not be understood to mean that the king is above the laws, in the unconfined sense of those words, and that everything he does is of course just and lawful. Its true meaning is, First, that the sovereign, individually and personally, and in his natural capacity, is independent of and is not amenable to any other earthly power or jurisdiction; and that whatever may be amiss in the condition of public affairs is not to" be imputed to the king,Read More

Rex nunquam moritur

The king never dies. The law ascribes to the king, in his political capacity, an absolute immortality; and, immediately upon the decease of the reigning prince in his natural capacity, the kingly dignity and the prerogatives and politic capacities of the supreme magistrate, by act of law, without any interregnum or interval, vest at once in his successor, who is, eo instante, king, to all intents and purposes; and this is in accordance with the maxim of our constitution, In Anglia non est interregnum. Read More

Rex non debet esse sub homine, sed sub Deo et sub lege, Quia lex Facit Regem

The king is under no man, yet he is in subjection to God and to the law, for the law makes the king. The head of the state is regarded by our law in a two-fold character—as an individual liable like any other to the accidents of mortality and its frailties; also as a corporation sole, endowed with certain peculiar attributes, the recognition whereof leads to important consequences. Politically, the sovereign is regarded in this latter character, and is invested with various functions, which the individual, as such, could not discharge. Read More

Ad ea quae frequentius accidunt jura adaptantur

The laws are adapted to those cases which most frequently occur. Laws ought to be, and usually are, framed with a view to such cases as are of frequent rather than such as are of rare or accidental occurrence. Read More

Nova Constitutio futuris Formam imponere debet, non praeteritis

A legislative enactment ought to be prospective, not retrospective, in its operation. Every statute which takes away or impairs a vested right acquired under existing laws, or creates a new obligation, imposes a new duty, or attaches a new disability, in respect of transactions or considerations already past, must be deemed retrospective in its operation, and opposed to sound principles of jurisprudence. Read More

Leges posteriores priores contrarias abrogant

When the provisions of a later statute are opposed to those of an earlier, the earlier statute is considered as repealed.The legislature, which possesses the supreme power in the State, possesses, as incidental to that power, the right of changing, modifying, and abrogating the existing laws. To assert that any one Parliament can bind a subsequent Parliament by its ordinances, would in fact be to contradict the above plain propositionRead More

Dies Dominicus non est juridicus

Sunday is not a day for judicial or legal proceedings. The Sabbath-day is not dies juridicus, for that day ought to be consecrated to divine service. The keeping one day in seven holy as a time of relaxation and refreshment, as well as for public worship, is, indeed, admirable service to a state, considered merely as a civil institution; and it is the duty of the legislature to remove, as much as possible, impediments to the due observance of the Lord's day. The Houses of Parliament indeed may, in case of necessity, sit on a Sunday; but the judges cannot do so, that day being exempt from all legal business by the common law; an affidavit purporting to be sworn on a Sunday might be rejected; and where an instalment of money under a judge's order becomes due on a Sunday, it will be payable on the following day. Read More

Summa Ratio est quae pro Religione facit

That rule of conduct is to be deemed binding which religion dictates. It may, however, safely be affirmed that, if ever the laws of God and man are at variance, the former are to be obeyed in derogation of the latter ; that the law of God is, under all circumstances, superior in general custom were opposed to the Divine law, or if any statute were passed directly contrary thereto,—as if it were enacted generally, that no one should give alms to any object in ever so necessitous a condition,—such a custom, or such an Act, would be void.Read More

Necessitas inducit Privileqium quoad Jura privata

With respect to private rights, necessity privileges a person acting under its influence. As a general rule, the law charges no man with default where the act done is compulsory, and not voluntary, and where there is not a consent and election on his part; and, therefore, if either there be an impossibility for a man to do otherwise, or so great a perturbation of the judgment and reason as in presumption of law man's nature cannot overcome, such necessity carries a privilege in itself Read More

Salus Populi suprema Lex

That regard he had to the public welfare, is the highest law. There is an implied assent on the part of every member of society, that his own individual welfare shall, in cases of necessity, yield to that of the community; and that his property, liberty, and life shall, under certain circumstances, be placed in jeopardy or even sacrificed for the public good. " There are," says Buller, J., in "many cases in which individuals sustain an injury for which the law gives no action; as, where private houses are pulled down, or bulwarks raised on private property, for the preservation and defence of the kingdom against the king's enemies." Read More