A Glossary of Legal latin

Legal latin:



Ab initio: From the very beginning 

Ab intra: From within/inside

Ab extra: From outside 

Actus reus: Criminal Act

Ad-hoc: For this 

Ad idem: Agreeing in essential point 

Ad interim: In the meantime 

Ad-valorem: According to the market value 

A fortiori: with even stronger reason 

Alias: otherwise called

Alibi: defence claim that the accused was somewhere else of the time a crime was committed 

Alimenta: means of support (i.e. food, clothing, shelter etc.)

Alinude: from any other source, in any other way 

Altercatio: forensic argumentation; cross examination 

Ambigendi Locus: room for doubt 

Amicus-curie: A friend of the court, counsel appointed by the court  

Animus: An intention 

Animus defamandi: Intention of defaming 

Animus domini: The intention of possession and owning

Animus possidendi: The intention of possessing 

Ante: Before 

At Ante: In advance

Audi Alteram Partem: Hear the other side

Autrefois acquit: a plea in a criminal case ; if an accused is acquitted, he cannot be afterwards acquitted, he cannot be afterwards indicted for the same offence

Autrefois convict: a plea of the accused that he has been already convicted of the same crime entitling him to discharge  




Bancus communium placitorum: Court of common pleas 

Bona-fide: with good faith 

Bona fides: documents proving identity 

Bona fiscalia: public property 

Bona mobilia: moveable property 

Bona peritura: perishable goods 

Bona vacantia: vacant goods : goods without an owner, unclaimed property 

Bona gestura: good behaviour 




Capias ad audiendum: writ ordering appearance in court 

Capias ad respondendum: writ ordering satisfaction of an order 

Caveat: an entry in the court records that effectively prevents action by another party without first notifying the party entering the caveat 

Caveat emptor: let the buyer beware

Causa causans: Immediate cause

Causa mortis: in respect of death

Cause Major: unusual accident 

Causa omissus: a point unprovided for by statue 

Causa proxima: Approximate cause 

Causa sine qua non: a cause without which the effect would have been caused

Chartae libertatum: charters of liberties 

Consensus ad idem: agreement as to the same things 

Consortium: marital companionship

Contra: to the contrary 

Corpus: body

Corpus delicti: body of the crime 

Corum: required number 

Corum non judice: without jurisdiction

Custos: guardian 

Cypres: near to it, some way as nearly as possible  




Damnum sine injuria: damages without violation of any legal right in fact

De die in diem: from day to day 

De facto: in fact

De futuro: in the future 

De-hors: beyond the scope of, unconnected to 

De integro: as regards the whole 

De jure: in law 

Delegate potestas non-potest delegari: delegated power cannot be further delegated

Delegatus non potest delegari: delegation cannot be made by delegatee

De lunatic inquiriendo: a writ to inquire into the insanity of the person 

De novo: Afresh

Dies juridicus: a day on which the court is in session 

Dies non juridicus: a day on which the court is not in session 

Doli: crime, mischief

Doli incapax: incapable of committing a crime 

Dominus litis: Master of/having dominion over the case

Donation mortis causa: a gift made in contemplation of death, a death-bed gift 




Ejusdem Generis: of the same kind or species 

Ex auditu: from hearsay 

Ex-curia: out of the court 

Ex-facie: on the face of it

Exampli gratia: for example

Ex gratia: by favour/grace

Ex more: according to custom 

Ex-necessitate: by/out of necessity 

Ex-officio: by virtue of his office

Expatriate: living abroad, exiled 

Ex-parte: in absence of other party

Ex-post facto: made after the occurrence 

Ex tempore: immediately, without preparation 

Ex-tenso: at length 




Facta probantia: facts tending to prove or disprove the factum probandum 

Factum: a fact/deed

Factum probandum: the fact to be proved, the fact in issue 

Fascimile: an exact copy 

Fait accompli: not worth arguing about 

Falsus in uno falsus in omnibus: false in one thing is false in everything

Felo de se: a suicide 

Feme sole: an unmarried women

Fieri facias: writ authorizing execution of a judgement 

Foetus, Fetus: a baby in the womb 

Forum: a court 

Functus officio: having discharged duly 




Guardian ad litem: guardian of law, a lawyer appointed to degend or prosecute a case on behalf of a party who is incapacitated by young age or other condition.




Habeus corpus: a writ requiring the physical presence of person

Hearing de novo : full new hearing 



Ibidem, ibid: in the same place

Idem: the same person or being 

Ignorantia juris non-excusat: ignorance of law is no excuse  

In camera : in private

In curia: in an open court 

In custodia legis: in custody of court

In delicto: at fault 

In esse: in existence  

Id est: that is to say 

In extenso: from the beginning to end 

In Extremis: At the last breath 

In Forma Pauperis: As a indigent 

In Invitum: against a person’s will

In Limine: At the very outset 

In Loco Parentis: in place of parents 

In omnibus: in every respect 

In pari delicto: in equal fault

In Personam: directly against, or with reference to specified person 

In promptu: in readiness 

Inter-se: in between

In situ: in its place  

In solidum:  in the whole, entirety 

In solo: on the land

In toto: totally 

In vita: in life

Intra: within , near 

Inter-alia: amongst other things 

In Re. : in the matter of 

In rem: Against all

Interium: temporary, in the meanwhile

Interrorem: as a warning or a deterrent  

Inter vivos: between living persons

Intra: within  

Intra vires: within its power 

Ipso-facto: by the very fact itself 

Ipso jure: by the law itself 




Judex non potest case testes in propria causa: a judge cannot be a witness in his own cause 

Jus: a right that is recognized in law 

Jus ad rem: an inchoate and imperfect right 




Lex non scripta: the unwritten law 

Lex scripta: the written law 

Lex talionis: the law of retaliation 

Lis pendens: a pending suit 

Locum tenens: a deputy 

Locus delicti: the place of the offence 

Locus in quo: scene of the event, the place in which 

Locus standi: the right to do anything 




Magnum opus: great work of art, master piece 

Mala-fides: Bad faith 

Malus Usuo: a bad custom 

Mens Rea: Guilty mind 

Mesne-Profitsthe profits of an estate received by a tenant in wrongful possession and recoverable by the landlord

Modus-operandi: Mode of operating 

Modus-vivendi: a way of living 

Mutatis-mutandis: with necessary changes being made 




Nemo: nobody, none 

Nexus: Bond, link or connection 

Nisi: unless

Nolo cotendere: I will not contest it 

Nolo prosequi: a formal motion by the prosecuting officer in criminal action, which states that he will not further prosecute the case.

Non compus mentis: not of sound mind and understanding 

Non constat: it is not certain  

Non-est: Never existing 

Non obstante: notwithstanding 

Non sequitur: an inconsistent statement 

Nonest factum: it is not his/her deed

Nota bene: note well 

Nulla bona: no effects 

Null and void: not operative, not enforceable 

Nullius fillis: illegitimate child

Nunc pro tunc: now for then  




Obiter dictum: A saying by the way 

Onus probandi: onus of proof 

Orse: otherwise 




Pardelictum: equal fault 

Pari Materia: On the same matter 

Pari Passu: with equal steps 

Pauper: Indigent, Poor 

Pendente-lite: during pendency 

Per annum: by the year 

Per contra: On the contrary 

Per capita: per person 

Per centrum ad valorem: percentage according to value 

Per curiam: in the opinion of the court 

Per diem: by the day 

Per mensum: by the month

Per minas: by means of menaces or threats 

Per pro: through another  

Per quod: by reason of which 

Per se: by itself 

Persona Designata: once described as an individual 

Persona grata: Accepted person 

Persona non grata: an unacceptable person 

Prima facie: on the first seeing 

Prima impressionis: on first impression 

Pro bono public: for public good 

Pro-forma: As a matter of form 

Pro hac vice: for this occasion 

Pro-rata: in proportion 

Pro se: for oneself

Pro-tanto: to that extent 

Pro tem: for the time being 

Public juris: of public right 

Pusine: latter born, subordinate 




Qua: with respect to

Quaeitur : the question is raised

Quaere: consider whether it is correct

Quasi: seemingly 

Quid pro quo: a consideration, one thing in return of another thing 

Quo warranto: one form of writ, wuestioning the validity of holding an office 




Ratio decidendi: the reason for the decision 

Res : matter, affair

Res gestae: all things done in the course of same transaction 

Res integra: under consideration 

Res ipsa loquitur: the things speak for itself 

Res integra: a dispute not decided 

Res judicata: a matter already judicially decided 

Res nulis: a thing that has no owner 

Rigour mortis: Stiffness of body after death 




Sciens: knowingly

Secus : the legal position is different 

Sine die: indefinitely, without date 

Sine qua non: an indispensable requisite 

Solatium : a sum paid to an injured party over and above actual damages by way of solace 

Spes successionis: a bare chance of succession 

Status quo: existing condition 

Stet: do not delete, let it stand

Sub modo: under condition or restriction 

Sub nomine: under the name of 

Sub judice: in the course of trial 

Sub peona: summons 

Sub peona duces tecum: a court order requiring the person to appear in the court and to bring specified documents or other items 

Sub silento: in silence

Sui generis: unique 

Sui juris: of his own right 

Suggestio falsi: a false suggestion 

Suo moto: of its own motion 

Sup sponte: at its own will 

Supra: after 

Suppresio veri: willful concealment of a truth 




Talis qualis: such as it is

Terra nullius: land belonging to no-one 

Tete-a-tete: private or intimate conversation between two persons 




Uberrima fides: good faith 

Uberrimae fidel: of the utmost good faith 

Ultra-vires: beyond their power

Uno flantu: at the same moment  




Verbatim: word by word, exactly

Vide: refer to 

Vires: authority 

Vis major: act of major
VidelicetViz: that is 

Viva voce: orally, by word of mouth 

Volens: willing

Volenti non fit injuria: that to which a man consents cannot be cannot be complained of as an injury 


-Tushar Kaushik

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *