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James Wood, comp. Dictionary of Quotations. 1899.


A facto ad jus non datur consequentia—Inference from the fact to the law is not legitimate.

Ab abusu ad usum non valet consequentia—The abuse of a thing is no argument against its use.

Absurdum est ut alios regat, qui seipsum regere nescit—It is absurd that he should govern others, who knows not how to govern himself.

Accedas ad curiam—You may go to the court. A writ to remove a case to a higher court.

Accusare nemo se debet nisi coram Deo—No man is bound to accuse himself unless it be before God.

Acta exteriora indicant interiora secreta—Outward acts betray the secret intention.

Actus Dei nemini facit injuriam—The act of God does wrong to no man.

Actus me invito factus, non est meus actus.—An act I do against my will is not my act.

Actus non facit reum, nisi mens sit rea—The act does not make a man guilty, unless the mind be guilty.

Ad quæstionem legis respondent judices, ad quæstionem facti respondent juratores—It is the judge’s business to answer to the question of law, the jury’s to answer to the question of fact.

Ad quod damnum—To what damage.

Aliquis non debet esse judex in propria causa—No one may sit as judge in his own case.

Aliud est celare, aliud tacere—To conceal is one thing, to say nothing is another.

Allegans contraria non est audiendus—No one is to be heard whose evidence is contradictory.

Animus furandi—The intention of stealing.

Assumpsit—An action on a verbal promise.

Audi alteram partem—Hear the other party; hear both sides.

Audita querela—The complaint having been investigated.

Beneficium invito non datur—There is no conferring a favour (involving obligation) on a man against his will.

Bona vacantia—Goods that have no owner.

Cadit quæstio—The question drops, i.e., the point at issue needs no further discussion.

Capias ad respondendum—You may take him to answer your complaint.

Capias ad satisfaciendum—You may take him to satisfy your claim.

Capias—A writ to order the seizure of a defendant’s person.

Caveat actor—Let the doer be on his guard.

Caveat emptor—Let the buyer be on his guard.

Certiorari—To order the record from an inferior to a superior court.

Clausum fregit—He has broken through the enclosure, i.e., committed a trespass.

Cognovit actionem—He has admitted the action.

Commune periculum concordiam parit—A common danger tends to concord.

Consensus facit legem—Consent makes the law.

Consuetudo est altera lex—Custom is a second law.

Consuetudo pro lege servatur—Custom is observed as law.

Corpus delicti—The body of the offence.

Cujus est solum, ejus est usque ad cœlum—He who owns the soil owns everything above it to the very sky.

Damnosa hæreditas—An inheritance which entails loss.

Damnum absque injuria—Loss without injustice.

De medietate linguæ—Of a moiety of languages, i.e., foreign jurymen.

De minimis non curat lex—The law takes no notice of trifles.

Dedimus potestatem—We have given power.

Deliramenta doctrinæ—The crazy absurdities of learned men.

Dies datus—A day given for appearing in court.

Dilationes in lege sunt odiosæ—Delays in the law are odious.

Distringas—You may distrain.

Dolus versatur in generalibus—Fraud deals in generalities.

Donatio mortis causa—A gift made in prospect of death.

Dormit aliquando jus, moritur nunquam—A right is sometimes in abeyance, but never abolished.

Dormiunt aliquando leges, nunquam moriuntur—The law sleeps sometimes, but never dies.

Duces tecum—You must bring with you (certain documents).

Dum se bene gesserit—So long as his behaviour is good.

Elegit—He has chosen. A writ empowering a creditor to hold lands for payment of a debt.

Est pater ille quem nuptiæ demonstrant—He is the father whom the marriage-rites point to as such.

Ex abundante cautela—From excessive precaution.

Ex abusu non arguitur ad usum—There is no arguing from the abuse of a thing against the use of it.

Ex abusu non argumentum ad desuetudinem—The abuse of a thing is no argument for its discontinuance.

Ex desuetudine amittuntur privilegia—Rights are forfeited by disuse.

Ex diuturnitate temporis omnia præsumuntur esse solemniter acta—Everything established for a length of time is presumed to have been done in due form.

Ex facto jus oritur—The law arises out of the fact, i.e., it cannot till then be put in force.

Ex post facto—After the event.


Expressio unius est exclusio alterius—The naming of one man is the exclusion of another.

Fatetur facinus is qui judicium fugit—He who shuns a trial confesses his guilt.

Felo de se—A suicide.

Feme covert—A married woman.

Feme sole—An unmarried woman.

Filius nullius—The son of no one; a bastard.

Fortior et potentior est dispositio legis quam hominis—The disposition of the law is stronger and more potent than that of man.

Frans est celare fraudem—It is a fraud to conceal fraud.

Fugam fecit—He has taken to flight.

Furiosus furore suo punitur—A madman is punished by his own madness.

Hæreditas nunquam ascendit—The right of inheritance never lineally ascends.

Hæres jure repræsentationis—An heir by right of representation.

Hæres legitimus est quem nuptiæ demonstrant—He is the lawful heir whom marriage points out as such.

Habeas corpus ad prosequendum—You may bring up the body for the purpose of prosecution.

Habeas corpus ad respondendum—You may bring up the body to make answer.

Habeas corpus ad satisfaciendum—You may bring up the body to satisfy.

Habeas corpus—A writ to deliver one from prison, and show reason for his detention, with a view to judge of its justice, lit. you may have the body.

Habemus confitentem reum—We have the confession of the accused.

Habere facias possessionem—You shall cause to take possession.

Honestum non est semper quod licet—What is lawful is not always honourable.

Ignorantia facti excusat—Ignorance of the fact excuses.

Ignorantia legis excusat neminem—Ignorance of the law excuses nobody.

Impotentia excusat legem—Inability suspends the action of law.

In æquali jure melior est conditio possidentis—Where the right is equal, the claim of the party in possession is the best.

In casu extremæ necessitatis omnia sunt communia—In a case of extreme emergency all things are common.

In dubiis benigniora semper sunt præferenda—In cases of doubt we should always lean to the side of mercy.

In judicando criminosa est celeritas—In pronouncing judgment, haste is criminal.

In omnibus quidem, maxime tamen in jure, æquitas est—In all things, but particularly in law, regard is to be had to equity.

Incerta pro nullis habetur—What is uncertain is to be treated as non-extant.

Inclusio unius est exclusio alterius—The mention by name of the one implies the exclusion of the other.

Inde datæ leges ne fortior omnia posset—Laws have been ordained to the end that the stronger may not have everything their own way.

Judicandum est legibus, non exemplis—Judgment should be given according to law and not precedent.

Judicata res pro veritate accipitur—A matter that has been adjudged is received as true.

Judicis est judicare secundum allegata et probata—It is the judge’s duty to decide in accordance with what is alleged and proved.

Judicis est jus dicere non dare—It is the judge’s duty to enunciate the law, not to make it.

Judicium a non suo judice datum nullius est momenti—Judgment given by a judge in a matter outside his jurisdiction is of no legal force.

Judicium parium aut leges terræ—The judgment of our peers or the laws of the land.

Jure repræsentationis—By right of representation.

Jus devolutum—A devolved right, specially of a presbytery in Scotland to present to a benefice, the patron having failed to do so.

Jus in re—A real right.

Jus mariti—The right of a husband.

Jus postliminii—The law of recovery of forfeited rights.

Jus primogenituræ—The right of primogeniture.

Jus proprietatis—The right of property.

Jus regium—Royal right, or right of the Crown.

Jus sanguinis—The right of consanguinity, or blood.

Justitia non novit patrem nec matrem, solum veritatem spectat—Justice knows neither father nor mother; it regards the truth alone.

Latitat—He lurks; a writ of summons.

Leges posteriores priores contrarias abrogant—Later statutes repeat prior contrary ones.

Legis constructio non facit injuriam—The construction of the law does injury to no man.

Lex aliquando sequitur æquitatem—Law is sometimes according to equity.

Lex neminem cogit ad impossibilia—The law compels no one to do what is impossible.

Lex prospicit non respicit—The law is prospective, not retrospective.

Libertas est potestas faciendi id quod jure licet—Liberty consists in the power of doing what the law permits.

Lubricum linguæ non facile in pœnam est trahendum—A slip of the tongue ought not to be rashly punished.

Mala grammatica non vitiat chartam—Bad grammar does not vitiate a deed.

Malum prohibitum—A crime because forbidden by law, such as smuggling.

Malus usus est abolendus—An evil custom should be abolished.

Mandamus—We enjoin. A writ issuing from the Queen’s Bench, commanding certain things to be done.

Me non solum piget stultitiæ meæ, sed etiam pudet—I am not only annoyed at my folly, I am ashamed of it.

Melior est conditio possidentis—The condition of the party in possession, or the defendant, is the better of the two.

Melior tutiorque est certa pax, quam sperata victoria—A certain peace is better and safer than an expected victory.

Meliores priores—The better first.

Mensa et toro—From bed and board.

Misera est servitus ubi jus est aut vagum aut incognitum—Obedience to the law is a hardship where the law is either unsettled or unknown.

Mittimus—We send. A writ for transferring records from one court to another; a precept committing an accused person to prison by a justice of the peace.

Mos pro lege—Usage, or custom, for law.

Mutatis mutandis—After making the necessary changes.

Ne exeat regno—Let him not go out of the kingdom. (A writ to prevent a person leaving the country).

Nemo allegans suam turpitudinem audiendus est—No one testifying to his own baseness ought to be heard.

Nemo dat quod non habet—Nobody can give what he does not legally possess.

Nemo debet bis puniri pro uno delicto—No man shall be twice punished for the same offence.

Nemo debet bis vexari pro una et eadem causa—No one shall be molested twice for one and the same cause.

Nemo debet esse judex in propria causa—No one ought to be judge in his own cause.

Nemo ex proprio doto consequitur actionem—No man can sue at law upon his own fraud.

Nemo patriam in qua natus est exuere nec ligeantiæ debitum ejurare possit—No one can cast off his native country or abjure his allegiance to his sovereign.

Nemo potest mutare consilium suum in alterius injuriam—No one can change what he proposes to enact to the damage of another.

Nemo præsumitur alienam posteritatem suæ prætulisse—No one is presumed to have preferred another’s offspring to his own.

Nemo punitur pro alieno delicto—No one must be punished for the fault of another.

Nemo tenetur se ipsum accusare—No one is held bound to criminate himself.

Nihil potest rex nisi quod de jure potest—The king can do nothing but what the law allows.

Nihil quod est inconveniens est licitum—Nothing which is inconvenient is lawful.

Nil debet—He owes nothing.

Nil dicit—He says nothing, i.e., he has no defence to make.

Nil dictum quod non dictum prius—There can be nothing said now which has not been said before.

Nil temere novandum—Make no rash innovations.

Nimia subtilitas in jure reprobatur, et talis certitudo certitudinem confundit—Too much subtlety in law is condemned, and such certainty destroys certainty.

Nolle prosequi—To be unwilling to prosecute.

Non assumpsit—He did not assume.

Non constat—This does not appear.

Non decipitur qui scit se decipi—He is not deceived who is knowingly deceived.

Non liquet—It is not clear.

Non obstante veredicto—The verdict notwithstanding.

Nudum pactum—A mere agreement.

Nullum tempus occurrit regi—No lapse of time bars the rights of the crown.

Nullus commodum capere potest de injuria sua propria—No one can take advantage of wrong committed by himself.

Omne actum ab agentis intentione judicandum—Every act is to be judged of by the intention of the agent.

Omnia præsumuntur rite et solenniter esse acta—All things are presumed to have been done duly and in the usual manner.

Omnis pœna corporalis, quamvis minima, major est omni pœna pecuniaria, quamvis maxima—The slightest corporal punishment falls more heavily than the largest pecuniary penalty.

Per quod servitium amisit—For loss of his or her services.

Pity weakness and ignorance, bear with the dulness of understandings, or perverseness of tempers.

Poeta nascitur, non fit—A poet is born, not made.

Posse comitatus—The power of the county, which the sheriff has the power to raise in certain cases.

Privatorum conventio juri publico non derogat—No bargain between individuals derogates from a law.

Privilegium est quasi privata lex—Privilege is as it were private law.

Prohibetur ne quis faciat in suo, quod nocere potest in alieno—No one is allowed to do on his own premises what may injure those of a neighbour.

Protectio trahit subjectionem, et subjectio protectionem—Protection involves allegiance, and allegiance protection.

Publicum bonum privato est præferendum—The public good must be preferred to private.

Quantum meruit—As much as he deserved.

Qui jure suo utitur, neminem lædit—He who enjoys his own right injures no man.

Qui non prohibet quod prohibere potest assentire videtur—He who does not prevent what he can prevent is held to consent.

Qui peccat ebrius luat sobrius—He that commits an offence when drunk shall pay for it when he is sober.

Qui tacet consentire videtur—He who is silent professes consent.

Quum talis sis, utinam noster esses!—How I wish you were one of us, since I find you so worthy!

Rectus in curia—Upright in the court, i.e., having come out of it with clean hands.

Relegare bona religionibus—To bequeath one’s property for religious purposes.

Respondeat superior—Let the principal answer.

Rex datur propter regnum, non regnum propter regem. Potentia non est nisi ad bonum—A king is given for the sake of the kingdom, not the kingdom for the sake of the king. His power is only for the public good.

Rex nunquam moritur—The king never dies.

Salus populi suprema est lex—The well-being of the people is the supreme law.

Scandalum magnatum—An offence against the nobility or a person in high station.

Scire facias—Cause it to be known.

Semel malus, semper præsumitur esse malus—Once bad is to be presumed always bad.

Sic utere tuo ut alienum non lædas—So use what is your own as not to injure what is another’s.

Solo cedit, quicquid solo plantatur—Whatever is planted in the soil goes with it.

Solvit ad diem—He paid to the day.

Sub pœna—Under a penalty.

Sublata causa tollitur effectus—The cause removed, the effect is also.

Sui juris—Of his own right.

Super subjectam materiam—Upon the matter submitted.

Supersedeas—You may supersede.

Sursum corda—Lift up your hearts.

Ubi jus incertum, ibi jus nullum—Where the law is uncertain there is no law.

Ubi jus, ibi remedium—Where there is a right there is a remedy.

Ubi major pars est, ibi est totum—Where the greater part is, there the whole is.

Ultra posse nemo obligatur—Nobody can be bound to do beyond what he is able to do.

Ut metus ad omnes, pœna ad paucos perveniret—That fear may reach all, punish but few.

Venire facias—Cause to come. (Writ of a sheriff to summon a jury.)

Vetustas pro lege semper habetur—Ancient custom is always held as law.

Via trita, via tuta—The beaten path is the safe path.

Vigilantibus, non dormientibus, subveniunt jura—The laws assist those who watch, not those who sleep.

Volenti non fit injuria—An injury cannot be done to a consenting party, i.e., if he consents or connives, he cannot complain.

Who loves me, loves my dog.

Worldly affairs, which my friends thought so heavy upon me, they are most of them of our own making, and fall away as soon as we know ourselves.