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Latin Legal Terms


undefined, object
copy deck
a fortiori
with stronger reason
a priori
from what goes before;
from the cause to the effect
ab initio
from the beginning
actiones in personam
personal actions
ad curiam
before the court,
to the court
ad damnum clause
to the damage,
clause of complaint which states plaintiff's monetary loss
ad faciendum
to do
ad hoc
for this purpose,
for this occasion
ad titem
for the suit,
for the litigation (a guardian ad litem, for example)
ad rem
to the thing at hand
ad valorem
according to the value (an ad valorem tax for example)
against (defendant adv. plaintiff)
aggregatio menium
meeting of minds (relates to formation of contracts)
alias dictus
otherwise called, also known as (as in an assumed name)
in another place, elswhere
from another place, from without(as in evidence outside the document) see parol evidence
alter ego
the other self
amicus curiae
friend of the court (as an amicus curiae brief filed with an appellate court)
with intention, disposition, design, will
mind, intention
ante litem motam
before suit brought,
before litigation is filed
in the course of the argument,
for the sake of argument
he undertook,
he promised
bona fide
good faith
take, arrest
persons, heads
causa mortis
by reason of death
beware, a warning
caveat emptor
let the buyer beware
send the pleadings up (from an inferior court to a superior court; U.S. Supreme Court uses certiori to review most cases)
beneficiaries (pronounced "setty")
cestui que trust
beneficiaries of the trust
in the area of, about, concerning
compos mentis
of sound mind
union in lots or chances; conjugal fellowship of husband and wife
coram nobis
before us ourselves
corpus delicti
body of the offense, essence of the crime
cum testamento annexo
with the will annexed
datum (plural - data)
1. a thing given;information;
2. a date
de facto
in fact, in deed, actually
de jure
of right, lawful
de novo
anew, afresh
de son tort
of his own wrong
dies non
not a day
duces tecum
bring with you (as in subpoena duces tectum, whereby subpoenaed person must appear and bring records)
dum ene se gesserit
while he shall conduct himself, during good behavior
e converso
conversely, on the other hand
en banc
in the bench, all judges present (a three-judge panel sits individually or en banc)
eo instanti
upon the instant
erratum (plural - errata)
et alii
and others (as in Smith, et al. v. Jones)
et sequentia
and as follows (et seq.)
et ux
and wife
et vir
and husband
ex delicto
(arising) from a tort
ex gratia
as a matter of favor
ex officio
from office, by virtue of his office
ex parte
one side only, by or for one party only
ex post facto
after the fact
in fact, in or by the law
let it be done, a short order that a thing be done
to be made up, become
fieri facias
cause to be made (writ directing sheriff to reduce judgment debtor's property to money (sell it) for the amount of the judgment
flagrante delicto
in the very act of committing the crime
forum non conveniens
discretionary power of a court to decline jurisdiction over a case when the court believes it should be tried elsewhere for convenience of parties and witnesses
serious, of importance
habeas corpus
you have the body (writ directed to custodian of a person, commanding custodian to produce such person)
habendum clause
that part of deed whci begins "to have and to hold"; defines extent of ownership
honory fee or gift; compensation from gratitude
the same as above (id.)
idem sonans
having the same sound (as names sounding alike but spelled differently)
in curia
in court
in esse
in being, existence
in forma pauperis
permission given to a poor person to sue without liability for court costs
beneath; below
in linine
at the beginning; threshold
in loco parentis
in place of a parent, one chrged with a parent's rights and obligations
in pari delicto
in equal fault
in personam
personally, against the person
in praesenti
at once; now
in rem
proceedings against a thing (a bank account or real estate) distinguished from those against a person
in specie
in the same or in similar form
inter alia, inter alios
among other things, between other persons
inter se
among themselves
inter vivos
between the living, from one person to another
in toto
in the whole, completely
in transitu
in transit
within, inside
ipse dixit
he himself said (it), a an assertion made but not proved
ipso facto
by the fact itself
ita est
so it is
jura personarum
rights of a person, rights of persons
jura rerum
rights of things
jura divino
by devine right
jure uxoris
in his wife's right
jus (plural - jura)
law; right; laws collectively
jus ad rem
a right to a thing
jus commune
the common law, the common right
jus gentium
the law of nations, international law
just habendi
the right to have a thing
jus tertii
the right of a third party; the rights of another person
levari facias
cause to be levied, a writ of execution
lex loci
law of the place where the cause of action arose
lis pendens
litigation pending, as in a lis pendens filed with real estate records to notify the world that the real estate is involved in litigation
locus delicti
the place of the crime or tort
locus sigilli (L.S.)
the place for the seal
mala fides
bad faith
mala in se
wrong in itself, an act which is morally wrong
mala praxis
mala prohibita
acts declared as criminal by statute (failure to file a report), though not wrong in themselves (theft)
malo anio
with evil intent
we command, a writ used to compel an official to perform an act which she is required to perform
manu forti
with strong hand, forcible entry
mens rea
guilty mind, most crimes require the element of intent (mens rea)
nihil dicil
he says nothing, as in a default judgment against a defendant who does not rease a defence in the action
nothing; of no account
nil debet
he owes nothing
nisi prius
unless before (used to distinguish the court where trial was held from the appellate court)
nolle prosequi
unwilling to prosecute (a crime), prosecutor's discretion not to file charges in a particular case
nolo contendere
I will not contest it
non assumpsit
plea in defense; that he did not promise
non compos mentis
not of sound mind
non est factum
it is not his deed
non obstante
non sequitur
it does not follow
noto bene (N.B.)
note well; take notice
nudum pactum
nude pact, bare agreement which lacks the consideration to form a valid contract
nul tort
no wrong done
nulla bona
no goods (wording used on the return of a writ facias)
nunc pro tunc
now for then, as in an order nunc pro tunc to correct clerical error in a previous order
obiter dictum
remark which is not central to the main issue
onus probandi
the burden of proof
opus (pl., opera)
work, labor
ore tenus
by word of mouth, orally, as in a motion ore tenus
part delicto
in equal guilt
pari passu
by equal progress, ratably, equitably without preference
pater familias
father of the family
private property
pendente lite
pending the suit, during litigation
per annum
annual, by the year
per capita
by the head, equally shared
per contra
in opposition
per curiam
by the court
per diem
by the day
per se
by itself, taken alone
per stirpes
by representation, by the roots or stocks for purposes of inheritance
after, later
after the fact, after the event
to take effect after death
writ commanding a person to do some act or to appear and show cause whe she should not do so; order to clerk of court to issue a summons or execution on judgment already rendered
prima facie
at first sight, on the face of it
pro bono
free of charge, without cost
pro forma
as a matter of form
pro hac vice
for this occastion
pro rata
according to the rate or proportion
pro se
appearing for oneself; personally
pro tanto
for so much, to that extent
pro tempore
for the time being, temporarily
prochein ami
next friend
publici juris
of public right
pur autre vie
for or during the life of another
question, doubt
how much, the amount
quare clausum fregit
breaking the close, trespass
as if, as if it were
quid pro quo
what for what, something for something (as in consideration for a contract)
quo warranto
by what right or authority
thing, object, subject matter
res gestae
things done, excited utterance
res ipsa loquitur
the thing speaks for itself
res judicata
a thing (matter) adjudged
respondeat superior
let the master answer
knowledge, awareness
to wit, that is to say, namely (SS or ss)
a spark, the least particle
scire facias
cause to know, give notice (writ used to revive a judgment that has expired [dormant])
according to
se defendendo
in self-defense
severally, separately
thus, so, in such manner (used to indicate an error in original, quoted material)
a seal
sine die
without a day, without a specific day assigned for a future meeting
sine qua non
that without which a thing cannot occur; indispensable condition or part
stare decisis
to abide by decided cases
status quo
state in which, present state
sua sponte
voluntarily, of his own will and motion
sub nomine
under the name of, in the name of, under the title of
sub silentio
under silence, without any notice being taken
sui generis
of its own kind or class, the one of a kind, unique
sui juris
of his own right, having legal capacity to act for himself
superseding (as in the bond that accompanies a writ commanding a stay of proceedings pending appeal)
above, cited in full above
to hold, to keep
terminus a quo
the starting point
beyond, in excess of, outside of
ultra vires
without power, beyond the powers of
venire facias
that you cause to come, a type of summons
against (plaintiff v. defendant)
videlicet (viz.)
it is easy to see, that is to say, namely
vi et armis
by force and arms
one who (that which) is face to face with another
voir dire
to speak the truth, the process used to select jurors

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