Important Legal Maxims

1. Ab Initio – From the beginning.
2. Actionable per se – The very act is punishable and no proof of damage is
3. Actus Reus Non Facit Reum Nisi Mens Sit Rea – Conviction of a crime
requires proof of a criminal act and intent. or an act does not make a
defendant guilty without a guilty mind. or an act does not constitute guilt
unless done with a guilty intention.
4. Ad hoc – For the particular end or case at hand.
5. Alibi – At another place, elsewhere.
6. Amicus Curiae – A friend of court or member of the Bar who is appointed
to assist the Court.
7. Audi alteram partem – No man shall be condemned unheard.
8. Bona fide – In good faith.
9. Caveat actor – Let the doer beware.
10. Caveat emptor – Let the buyer beware.
11. Caveat venditor -Let the seller beware.
12. Certiorari – A writ by which orders passsed by an inferior court is quashed.
13. Corpus – Body.
14. Damnum sine injuria – Damage without injury.
14. De facto – In fact.
15. De jure – By law.
16. De minimis – About minimal things.
17. De novo – To make something anew.
18. Dictum – Statement of law made by judge in the course of the decision
but not necessary to the decision itself.
19. Detinue – Tort of wrongfully holding goods which belong to someone else.
20. Estoppel – Prevented from denying.
21. Ex gratia – As favour.
22. Ex officio – Because of an office held.
23. Ex parte – Proceedings in the absence of the other party.
24. Ex post facto – Out of the aftermath, or After the fact.
25. Habeas corpus – A writ to have the body of a person to be brought in
before the judge.
26. Ignorantia juris non excusat – Ignorance of the law excuses not or
Ignorance of the law excuses no one.
In other words, A person who is unaware of a law may not escape liability for
violating that law merely because one was unaware of its content.
27. Injuria sine damno – Injury without damage.
28. Ipso facto – By the mere fact.
29. In promptu – In readiness.
30. In lieu of – Instead of.
31. In personam – A proceeding in which relief I sought against a specific
32. Innuendo – Spoken words which are defamatory because they have a
double meaning.
33. In status quo – In the present state.
34. Inter alia – Among other things.
35. Jus cogens or ius cogens – Compelling law.
36. Jus in personam – Right against a specific person.
37. Jus in rem – Right against the world at large.
38. Jus – Law or right.
39. Jus sanguins – Right of blood or descent.
40. Locus standi – Right of a party to an action to appear and be heard by
the court.
41. Mala fide – In bad faith.
42. Mandamus – ‘We command’. A writ of command issued by a Higher
Court to Government/Public Authority, to compel the performance of a public
43. Mens rea – Guilty mind.
44. Modus operandi – Way of working.
45. Mutatis Mutandis – With the necessary changes having been made, or
with the respective differences having been considered.
46. Novation – Transaction in which a new contact is agreed by all parties to
replace an existing contract.
47. Obiter dictum – Things said by the way. It is generally used in law to refer
to an opinion or non-necessary remark made by a judge. It does not act as a
48. Per curiam (decision or opinion) – By the court.
49. Per se – By itself.
50. Persona non grata – A person who is unacceptable or unwelcome.
Opposite of persona non grata is persona grata.
51. Prima facie – At first sight.
52. Alimony – A husband’s (or wife’s) provision for a spouse after separation
or divorce; maintenance.
53. Per curiam – By a court.
54. Per incuriam – Because of lack of care.
55. Prima facie – On the face of it.
56. Qui facit per alium, facit per se – He who acts through another acts
57. Quid pro quo – Something for something.
58. Quo warranto – By what authority. A writ calling upon one to show under
what authority he holds or claims a public office.
59. Ratio decidendi – Principle or reason underlying a court judgement. or
The rule of law on which a judicial decision is based.
60. Res ipsa loquitor – The thing speaks for itself.
61. Res Judicata – A matter already judged.
62. Status quo – State of things as they are now.
63. Suo Motu – On its own motion.
64. Uberrima fides (sometimes uberrimae fidei) – Utmost good faith.
65. Ubi jus ibi remedium – Where there is a right, there is a remedy.
66. Veto – Ban or order not to allow something to become law, even if it has
been passed by a parliament.
67. Vice versa – Reverse position.
68. Vis major – Act of God.
69. Volenti non fit injuria – Damage suffered by consent gives no cause of
70. Vox populi – Voice of the people. or The opinion of the majority of the
71. Waiver – Voluntarily giving up or removing the conditions.

LLB Entrance Exams