100 Latin Legal Terms Law Students Must Know

A fortiori With stronger reason

A posteriori From the latter (reasoning from effect to cause)

A priori – From the former (reasoning from cause to effect)

Actus reus Guilty act

Ad hoc For this purpose

Ad infinitum To infinity

Ad litem  For the lawsuit

Affidavit A sworn written statement

Alibi Elsewhere; a defense of being elsewhere

Amicus curiae Friend of the court

Animus Intent or mind

Assumpsit He has undertaken or promised

Bona fide In good faith

Caveat Let him beware

Caveat emptor Let the buyer beware

Certiorari To be informed of, a writ from a higher court

Cestui que trust The beneficiary of a trust

Compos mentis Of sound mind

Consensus ad idem Meeting of the minds

Corpus delicti Body of the crime

Corpus juris Body of law

De facto In fact

De jure By law

De minimis Concerning small matters

De novo Anew, or from the beginning

Dictum A statement or remark in a judgment that is not essential to the decision

Doli incapax Incapable of crime

Dura lex sed lex The law is harsh, but it is the law

Emptor Buyer

Ex gratia As a favour

Ex officio By virtue of office

Ex parte By or for one party

Ex post facto After the fact

Fait accompli A done deal

Fiduciary A person in a position of trust

Forum non conveniens Inconvenient forum

Habeas corpus You shall have the body (a writ requiring a person to be brought before a judge)

Ignorantia juris non excusat Ignorance of the law is no excuse

In absentia In absence

In camera In private

In loco parentis In the place of a parent

In personam Against a person

In re In the matter of

In situ In place

In statu quo In the current state

Inter alia Among other things

Ipso facto By the fact itself

Jus Law or right

Jus cogens Compelling law

Jus gentium    Law of nations

Jus in bello    Law in war

Jus soli    Right of the soil (citizenship by birth)

Lex loci  Law of the place

Lis pendens Pending suit

Locus standi – Right to stand (legal standing)

Mala fide In bad faith

Mandamus We command (a writ commanding a public official to perform an act)

Mens rea Guilty mind

Modus operandi Method of operation

Nolle prosequi Unwilling to prosecute

Nolo contendere No contest

Non sequitur It does not follow

Obiter dictum Something said by the way (an incidental remark)

Onus probandi Burden of proof

Pacta sunt servanda Agreements must be kept

Per curiam – By the court

Per se By itself

Prima facie At first sight

Pro bono For the public good (legal work undertaken voluntarily)

Pro forma For form's sake

Pro rata In proportion

Pro se For oneself (representing oneself in court)

Quasi As if; almost

Quid pro quo Something for something

Res ipsa loquitur The thing speaks for itself

Res judicata A matter judged

Sine die Without a day (adjournment without setting a date for reconvening)

Sine qua non Without which not (an essential condition)

Stare decisis To stand by things decided (precedent)

Sub judice Under judgment

Subpoena Under penalty (a writ ordering a person to attend court)

Sui generis Of its own kind

Supra Above

Ultra vires Beyond the powers

Usufruct The right to enjoy the use and advantages of another's property short of the destruction or waste of its substance

Veni, vidi, vici I came, I saw, I conquered

Versus – Against

Vice versa The other way around

Videre licet (viz) It is permitted to see (namely)

Viva voce By word of mouth

Vox populi Voice of the people

Affirmanti non neganti incumbit probatio The burden of proof lies on the one who affirms, not on one who denies

Amor patriae – Love of country

Caveat venditor Let the seller beware

Contra proferentem Against the offeror (interpreting ambiguities against the party that drafted the document)

De facto parentis Parent in fact (a person who has assumed the role of a parent)

Delegata potestas non potest delegari Delegated power cannot be delegated

Dolus malus Fraud with evil intent

Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat The burden of proof is on the one who declares, not on one who denies

Ejusdem generis Of the same kind (a rule of statutory interpretation)
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