Legal Latin Phrases

Latin is of the utmost importance to people who study law. In ancient times, most of Europe was ruled by the Romans. They introduced their language (Latin) and their laws. After the fall of the Roman Empire, barbaric tribes conquered the lands dominated by the Romans. These barbarians could not read or write, so they had to adopt Latin, as that was language in which the laws of the conquered people were written.  Many of the principles and statues, still in practice today, have evolved from ancient Roman law. So it is of no surprise that many terms you hear in detective and law movies and TV shows are in Latin.

  1. A fortiori - By force (Legal term - With greater reason)
  2. A latere - On the side (Legal term - Denotes collateral)
  3. A mensa et thoro - From table and bed (Legal term - separation)
  4. A minima - For being too small (Legal term - Indicates that the case should go to a lower court)
  5. A non domino - From the non owner (Legal term - Argument from the person who does not own the item in question)
  6. A posteriori - After the fact (Legal term - actions after the fact - also philosophical term: from what is before - Inductive reasoning)
  7. A priori - Before the fact (Legal term - Actions before the fact - First speech - Philosophical term: from what is before - Deductive reasoning)
  8. A quo - From which (Legal term - the point which is initial limit of time)
  9. A verbis ad verbera - From words to blows (Legal term)
  10. A vinculo matrimonii - From the bounds of matrimony (Legal term)
  11. Ab antecedente - In adavance (Legal term)
  12. Ab intestato - Having made no will (Legal term)
  13. Ab irato - By anger (Legal term - Something which is invalidated, because it was done with unreasonable anger)
  14. Ab utraque parte - Of both parties (Legal Term - Gai Institutiones - Common property e.g. an island in the middle a river is the common property of the proprietors on both banks)
  15. Aberratio ictus - Mistake in the blow (Legal term that refers in an error where the wrong person gets hurt, e.g. to shot against one person and kill someone else)
  16. Abusus non est usus, sed corruptela - Abuse is not use, it is corruption (Legal term)
  17. Abusus non tollit usum - The abuse does invalidate the use (Legal term - Abuses shall not prevent to use something correctly)
  18. Accesorium non ducit, sed sequitur suum principale - The accessory does not lead, they follow the fortunes of the principal (Legal term)
  19. Actio damni infecti - Action for damages and infections (Legal term - e.g. Restitution for cattle grazing on the plaintiff's land)
  20. Actio de in rem verso - Enrichment without cause (Legal term)
  21. Actio de partu agnoscendo - Action of recognition of the child (Legal term)
  22. Actio est ius persequendi in iudicio, quod sibi debetur - Action is the right to obtain what it is due by the process of law (Legal term - Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus Instituta, libri 1, 6)
  23. Actio illicita in causa - Action illicitly planned (Legal term - compare with Actio libera in causa)
  24. Actio in personam - Personal action (Legal term)
  25. Actio in rem scripta - Real action (Legal term)

Total: 646
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