A-Z Comprehensive List of Important Legal Words and Phrases

By | October 15, 2020
List of Important Legal Words and Phrases

Last Updated on by Admin LB

Legal Bites brings to a comprehensive list of important Legal Words and Phrases. There are many different legal words that are used regularly in courts and for different judicial proceedings. Learn them today and master your skills.

A-Z Comprehensive List of Important Legal Words and Phrases

A | List of Important Legal Words and Phrases

A Fortiori By so much the stronger reason, i.e., all the more
A Posteriori Argument from the consequence to the antecedent
A Priori Deductive; from earlier i. e., original or antecedent; argument from antecedent to the consequent; not empirical
A Prendre See Profit
Ab Antiquo From Ancient times
Ab Extra From without
Ab Initio From the beginning
Ab Intestato ‘Succession ab intestate’ means succession to the property of a person who has not made his will
Ab Intra From within
Absolute sententia expositore non indiget Plain language does not need an interpreter
Absolvitur An acquittal; a decree in favour of the defendant
Absque Impetitione Vasti Without impeachment of waste
Absque Injuria Without any infringement of a right
Absque Talicausa Without such cause
Acquitas factum habet quod fieri oportuit Equity regards as done that which ought to have been done. Equity treats a contract to do a thing as producing the state of affairs which the parties intended should exist when the contract had been duly performed
Actionary A shareholder
Act in pais A judicial or other act performed out of court and not a matter of record
Actus Reus Wrongful act
Ad alium diem At another day
Ad audiendum To hear
Ad Diem At the day
Ad Filum Aquae To the thread or centre line of the stream
Ad.Filum vise To the centre of the way or road
Ad Finem At or near end
Ad Hoc For this
Ad hominem To the man ; personal
Ad Idem Agreeing in the essential point
Ad Infinitum Without limit
Ad Interim In the meantime
Ad Litem On a suit or action
Ad Longum At length
Ad Miseri Cordium In pity
Ad Nauseum Disgusting
Ad Referendum For further consideration
Ad Valorem According to the value
Alia Enormia Other wrongs. A declaration in trespass usually concluded thus ; “and other wrongs to the plaintiff then did” etc. [Rawson]
Alias Otherwise called
Alibi A plea by a person accused of an offence that he was ‘elsewhere’ – that having regard to the time and place when and where he is alleged to have committed the offence, he could no have been present.
Alieni Juris Under another’s authority. See Sui • juris
Alieno solo In the land of another ; on other’s land
Alio Intuitie With another intent than that alleged, i, e., not bona fide
Aliter Otherwise
Amicus Curiae (Friend of Court) ; A stander-by, not being a party to, or interested in, the cause, who informs the Court of any decided case or other fact of which it can take judicial notice. [Rawson]
Animus deserendi Intention to desert
Animus domini The intention of possession and ownership by entry or user
Animus possidendi The intention of possessing
Animus revertendi The intention of returning
Ante A reference to the previous part of the same book or statement
Ante Bellum Before the war
Ante Litem Motam Before litigation commenced
Arbitrium est Judicium An award is a judgment
Audi alteram partem Hear the other side. Both sides should be heard before a decision is arrived at
Aute De Fe Act of faith
Autre (Auter) Droit In right of another, e. g., a trustee holds in the right of his cestui que trust
Autre Fois Acquit Formerly acquitted. A plea in criminal cases that one has been already acquitted on the same charge
Autre Fois Attaint Formerly attainted. A plea in criminal cases that one is still attainted
Autre Fois Convict Formerly – convicted. A plea in criminal cases that one was already convicted on the same charge
A Vinculo Matrimoni From the bond of matrimony

B | List of Important Legal Words and Phrases

Bastard Eigne If a man has a natural son, and afterwards marry the mother, and by her have a legitimate son, the latter is called mulier puisne and the elder son Bastard eigne [Rawson]
Bille Vera A true bill
Bona Fide With good faith, i. e., without fraud or unfair dealing
Brevia Testa Short attested memoranda, originally introduced to obviate the uncertainty arising from parol feoffments : hence modern conveyances have gradually arisen. [Rawson]

C | List of Important Legal Words and Phrases

Cadit Queslio The argument is at end
Camera Stellata The Star Chamber, a Court originally created to prevent the obstruction cf justice in the inferior courts by undue influence
Cassetur Billa (Let the bill be quashed) ; an entry on the record that the plaintiff withdraws his bill
Casus Belli An occurrence giving rise to or justifying war
Casus Faederis A case stipulated by treaty or which comes within the terms of compact
Casus Omissus A point unprovided for by statute
Causa Causans The immediate cause ; same as causa proxima
Causa ‘Mortis In respect of death
Causa Proxima [See Causa causans]
Causa sine qua non A cause without which the effect would not have been caused
Caveat Emptor Let the purchaser beware. Where the purchaser does not require a warranty, he, in most cases, has to take the risk of the article not being of the desired quality. [Rawson]
Caveat Viator Let the traveller beware. This applies where gratuitous permission is given to persons to pass over private land, who must take the risk of accident arising from negligence of the owner. [Rawson]
Cepi corpus I have taken the body and have it ready
Cestui Que Trust The person who possesses the equitable or beneficial right to property, the legal estate of which is vested in a trustee. Also called a beneficiary
Clam Viaut Precario By stealth, force or licence
Communis error facit jus Common or universal error makes law
Conge D’ Accorder Leave to accord or agree
Conge D’ Elire Leave to choose
Consideratum Est Per Curiam It has been considered by the court
Contractue uberrima fides Contract requiring of utmost goodwill
Contra Bonos Mores Against good morals
Coram Non Judice In presence of a person who is not Ridge
Coram Paribus Before his peers
Corpus delicti The body of facts which constitute an offence; gist or of the offence
Corpus possessionis The thing possessed
Cry De Pais Hue and cry
Culpa Lata or Magna Gross neglect
Culpa Levis Slight or excusable neglect
Cum Grano Salis With a grain of salt
Cum Testamento Annexo With the will annexed
Curia Advisari Vult (Abbreviated as cur. adv. vult, or C.A.V.) The desires to consider
(In) Custodia Legis In the custody of the law

D| List of Important Legal Words and Phrases

Damage-Feaisant or Faisant Doing damage
Damnosa Haereditas A disadvantageous or unprofitable inheritance
Damnum Absque Injuria, also Damnum Sine Injuria Loss of by an act is not wrongful
Data What is given ; the promises upon which an argument is based ; certain given facts from which others may be inferred
De Bene Esse To allow a thing to be done provisionally and out of due course. This phrase is used when anything is allowed to be done at a present time with the view of its being examined at a future time, and then standing or falling according to the merit of the thing in its own nature.
Debitum Fundi A real debt, a charge on land
Decree nisi A decree is said to be made nisi when it is to take effect after a specified period or after the person affected by it fails to show cause against it within a certain time
De Die in Diem From day to day; continuously
Dedi et Concessi I have given and granted
Dedimus Potestatum We have given the power
De Facto, De Jure In fact, by right
Defectus Sanguins Failure of issue
Dehors Outside of; unconnected with; unrelated to
De jure In law, independent of what obtains in fact
De minimis non, curat lex The law takes no account of very trifling matters [S. 95, I.P.C.]
Delegatus non potest delegare A delegated power cannot be further delegated
Doli in capax Incapable of malice. In Indian Law, this conclusive presumption has been adopted for children under seven years of age. [S. 82. I.P.C.]
De Novo Anew, afresh
Dies Non Day on which no legal business can be transacted, e. g., Sunday. Christmas Day
Dom Proc (Domus procerum) The House of Lords
Donatio Mortis Causa A gift of personal property in prospect of death
Dum Sola Whilst single or unmarried
Dureate bene placito During the pleasure

E | List of Important Legal Words and Phrases

Edictal Citation Passages or names quoted on edicts
Ejusdem Generis Of the same kind or nature
En ventre sa mere Child in womb
Eminent domain The right of power of the government to take private property for public use on making just compensation therefor. The power of a Sovereign State to take or to authorise the taking of any property with in its jurisdiction for public use without the owner’s consent
Ex Abundanti Cautela From abundant or excessive caution
Ex Cathedra With the weight of one in authority
Executio est finis et fructus legis Execution is the end and fruit of the law
Ex Debito Justitiae From what is due of right
Ex-delicto From a delict, tort, fault, crime or malfeasance
Exempli Gratia (Abbreviated as e.g.,) For the purpose of example
Ex Mero Motu Of his own accord
Ex Officio By virtue of his office
Ex pacto illicito non oritur actio No action arises on an illegal agreement
Ex parte Expression used to signify something done or said by one person not in the presence of his opponent
Ex Post Facto Made after the occurrence
Ex Relatione Amici Narrated to the reporter by a friend
Ex turpi causa From a base cause
Ex Ve Termini From the force or meaning of the expression

F | List of Important Legal Words and Phrases

Facsimile Made it like ; an exact copy
Factum Valet The “fact which cannot be altered” though it should not have been done
Fait accompli An accomplished fact
Fait Enrolle A deed enrolled
Falsa Demonstratio The incorrectly described quantity has to be rejected as falsa demonstratio. [Irongaobi Pisciculture Co-operative Society v Chief Commissioner of Manipur, AIR 1969 Manipur 84 (87)]
Fang A thief taken with the fang is one caught having the stolen property upon him
Felo De Se A felon with respect to himself ; a suicide
Feme Covert A married woman
Femi Sole An unmarried woman
Ferae Naturae Wild animals
Fait Let it be done ; a decree
Flagrante Delicto In the very act of committing the crime
Fiat justitia Let justice be done
Fiat justitia, ruat caelum Let justice be done, though the heavens fall
Foetus A baby in the womb
Forum A Court
Forum Originis The Court of the country of a man’s domicile by birth
Functus Officio The phrase is used of one who having discharged his duty has terminated his authority or appointment

G | List of Important Legal Words and Phrases

Gestio Pro Haerede Behaviour as heir ; conduct by which the heir renders himself liable for his ancestor’s debts, as by taking possession of title-deeds, receiving rent, etc. [Rowson]
Gilda Mercatoria A mercantile meeting or assembly
Glebae Ascriptitii Assigned to the land

| List of Important Legal Words and Phrases

Haeredes Proximi Heirs begotten ; children
Haeredes Remotiores Heirs riot begotten, e.g., grand children and. others descending in a direct line
Haereditas Jacens An inheritance not taken up
Haeres Faetus Heir appointed by will
Haeres Natus Heir by descent
Hors de combat Unfit to light, disabled

| List of Important Legal Words and Phrases

Ibidim, Ibid, Id In the same place, volume of case
Idem Per Idem An illustration or proof
Idem Sonans Sounding alike
litera Legis Letter of legislation
Imprimatur A licence to print or publish
In Alio Loco In another place
In Arbitrio Judicis At the discretion of the Judge
In Articulo Mortis At the point of death
In Auter (Autre) Droit In another’s right
In Custodia Legis In the custody of the law
In Esse Actually existing ; as opposed to in posse : in a state of possible existence
In Extenso From beginning to end ; leaving out nothing
In Extremis At the last gasp
In Favorem Libertatis or Vitae In favour of liberty or life
In Fieri In course of accomplishment or completion
In Forma Pauperis As a ‘pauper’ . See Pauper
In Gemio Legis In the bosom of the law
In Invidium To excite prejudice
In Invitum Against a person’s will
In Limine At the outset
In Loco Parentis When a person assumes the moral obligation of providing for an infant as a parent should, he is said to be in loco parentis i.e., in the place of a parent
In Medias Res To the heart of the matter
In Notis In the notes
In Fais Done without legal formalities
In pari delicto When both parties are equally in fault, in equal fault
In Pari Materia In an analogous case
In personam An act or proceeding done or directed against or with reference to a specific person
In posse Possibility of being as opposed to in esse-in a state of being Achikd en ventre sa mere is a child in posse but the law regards it as in esse for all purposes which are for its benefit
In presenti At the present time ; at once ; immediately effective
In Re In the matter of
In rem An act or proceeding done or directed with reference to no specific person or with reference to all whom it might concern
In Solido In the whole ; entirely
In Status quo In an unaltered old state
In Terrorem For the purpose of intimidating
In Totidem Verbis In so many words
In Toto In the whole ; totally
Incipitur It is begun
Injuria sine damno Injury without damage ; am infringement of a right without causing damage
Intelligible differentia Difference capable of being understood. A factor that distinguishes one in different state or class from another which is capable of being understood
Inter Alia Among other things
Intra Vires Within its powers, as opposed to ultra vires
Ipse Dixit (He himself and it) ; a mere or bare assertion resting on one’s own authority
Ipso Facto By the very fact itself
Ipso jure By the law, itself
Ire Ad Largum To go at large

J | List of Important Legal Words and Phrases

Judicium Dei Judgment of God
Juris Et De Jure Of law and from law. A conclusive presumption, which cannot be rebutted, is so called
Jus Ad Rem An inchoate and imperfect right
Jus commune The common and natural rule of right
Jus Desponendi The right of disposing of property
Jus dicere et non ins dare To declare the law, not to make it
Jus in Personam A right against another person to oblige him to do or not to do something
Jus In Re A complete and full right to a thing to the exclusion of all other men
Jus non scriptum The unwritten law
Jus Precarium A right depending on request, not enforceable at law
Jus Privatum The private or civil or municipal law
Jus Relictae The right of a widow in her deceased husband’s personality
Jus Tertii The right of a third person
Juxta Formum Statuti According to the form cf the statute

| List of Important Legal Words and Phrases

Legitimi Haeredes Legitimate heirs-agnates
Leonina Societas A partnership in which one gets the lion’s share
Lex Domicilii The law of the country of one’s domicile
Lex Fori The law of the country where an action is brought
Lex Loci Contractus The law of the country where the contract was made
Lex Loci Delicti The law of the country where a tort has been committed
Lex Loci Rei Sitae The law of the place where the thing is situate
Lex Mercatoria The mercantile law
Lex non cogit ad impossibilia The law dues not compel the impossible
Lex Non Scripta The unwritten law
Lex Ordinandi Same as Lex fori
Lex Scripta The written or statute law
Lex Talionis The law of realisation
Lex tallienes (Law of retaliation)
Liberum Tenementum Frank. or free tenement
Lis pendens A pendig suit
Loco Regit Actum The place governs the act
Locum Tenens A deputy
Locus in Quo The place in which
Locus Poenitentiae A chance of repentence
Locus Standi The right of a party to appear and be heard by a court of justice

M | List of Important Legal Words and Phrases

Mala Fides Bad faith as opposed to bona fide
Mala in Se Acts which are wrong in themselves whether prohibited by human laws or not as distinguished from mala prohibita.
Mala Praxis Bad management
Mala Prohibita Acts prohibited by human law
Malitia Praecogita Malice atore-thought.
Malo Grate In spite ; unwillingly
Malus usuo A bad custom
Mens rea A guilty mind
Mesne Middle or intermediate
Mesne profits The profits which a person in wrongful possession of the property actually received or might with ordinary diligence have received therefrom together with interest on such profits excluding the profits due to improvement made by the person in wrongful possession
Miseri Cordia An arbitrary americament or punshment
Modo Et Forma In the manner and the form mentioned
Modus operandi Mode of operating ; the way in which a thing, cause etc. operates ; the way in which a person goes to work ; a distinct pattern or method of procedure thought to be characteristics of an individual criminal and habitually followed by him
Modus vivendi The manner of living ; a way of life
Mutatis Mutandis With the necessary changes being made. When there is provision in a statute to apply certain law or its provision mutatis mutandis, the same cannot imply delegation, or abdication of legislative power. [Debi Mata v State of W.B., 76 CWN 308: AIR 1972 Cal 497]

N | List of Important Legal Words and Phrases

Nemine contradicente (Nem, con.) Non contradicting
Nemo No one, nobody
Nexus Bond, link or connection
Nisi A decree, rule or order of the Court is said to be made nisi when it is not to be of force unless the party against whom it is made fails within a certain time to show cause against, i.e., a good reason why it should not be made. [Rawson]
Nisi Prius A Nisi Prius trial now means a trial before Judge with a jury
Nolle Prosequi To be unwilling to prosecute
Nolens Volense Whether willing or unwilling
Nomen generalissium Extremely common name
Non Assumpsit He did not promise
Non bis in idem Nonn twice for the same
Non Cepit He took not
Non Compos Mentis Person of unsound mind
Non Consessit He did not grant
Non Constat It is not certain, it does not follow
Non Demisit He did not demise
Non est factum It is a defence in an action founded on a document when there has been a mistake as to the very nature of the transaction
Non Obstante Notwithstanding
Non Sequitur It does not follow
Noscitur a Sociis One is known by his companions; the meaning of a word or expression is to be gathered from the surrounding words, that is from the context
Novos Actus Interveniens A new act intervening
Nudum Pactum A bare contract, i. e., one not made under seal and for no consideration
Nullius Filius A son of nobody, i.e., a natural child

| List of Important Legal Words and Phrases

Obiter Dictum A saying by the way
Onus Probandi Onus of proof
Ore Tenus By the word of mouth

| List of Important Legal Words and Phrases

Pacta sunt servanda Contracts are to be kept
Pari Materia Having same matter, text or language
Pari Passu With equal steps
Pars Rationabilis Reasonable part
Particeps Criminis A partner in crime
Participient Criminis Sharer of a crime
Pater Familias A sui juris and head of the family
Pendente Lite During pendency of litigation
Per annum By the year
Per Capita By the number of individuals
Per Centum ad Valorem Percentage according to the value
Per diem By the day
Per mensem By the month
Per Stirpes By the number of families
Per Incuriam Thought want of care
Per Quad Whereby
Per Se By itself
Persona Designata One described as an individual
Persona grata An acceptable person (in diplomatic parlance)
Persona non grata An unacceptable person (in diplomatic parlance)
Pessimi Exempli Of the worst example
Plenum dominium Full ownership, the right of property in a thing coupled with the right to its. use and enjoyment
Post Litem Motam After the starting of litigation
Prima Facie On the first aspect
Prima Impressionis Of first impression
Privatum Commodum Publico Cetid Private advantage must yield to public
Pro Forma As a matter of form
Pro Hac Vice For this occasion
Pro-Rata In proportion
Pro Bono Publico For the public good
Pro tanto To that extent
Pro Tempore For the time being, temporarily, provisionally
Proprio Vigore By its own force
Public Juris Of public right
Puisne Later born

Q | List of Important Legal Words and Phrases

Qua In the character of, in virtue of being
Quarantine As must be deserved
Quantum Valebant As much they were worth
Que Est Eadem (Which is the same), a form of plea in actions of trespass and the like, traversing the time and place named in the declaration. [Rawson]
Quia Timet injunction Where an injunction is granted to prevent a threatened as distinguished from an existing wrongful act, it is called quia timet injunction
Quid Pro Quo Something for something; a consideration
Quo Animo With that mind
Quoad Hoc As to this
Quod cum That whereas
Quod Recuperet That he do recover the debt or damages, a final judgment for a plaintiff in a personal action
Quod Ultra As to the rest
Q. V.-Quod Vide (Which see) ; a means of reference to the word which precedes

R | List of Important Legal Words and Phrases

Raison d’ Etre Reason or justification for existence.
Ratio Decidendi The reason for the decision in a cause or matter
Ratio Legis The reasons or occasion of the law
Ratione Tenurae By reason of tenure or occupation
Recius in Curia One against whom no accusation is made
Reductio Ad Absurdum The method of disproving an argument – showing that it leads to an absurd conclusion
Regulae Generales General rules
Res Communes Things common to all
Res Gestae All things are done in the course of a transaction
Res Integra A matter not yet decided
Res Ipsa Loquitur (The thing speaks for itself). A matter in which no proof is required. A phrase used in actions for injuries due to negligence
Res Judicata A matter already judicially decided
Res Nullius A thing that has no owner
Res Publicae Things of the state dedicated to the use of citizens
Restitutio in Integrum The rescinding of a contract or transaction on the ground of fraud, etc, so as to restore the parties to their original position. [Rawson]
Rule nisi A rule or order upon condition that is to become absolute when the cause is shown to the contrary

| List of Important Legal Words and Phrases

S. C. Same case
Sans Recours Without recourse
Scienter (Knowingly, wilfully), an allegation in the pleading that the defendant did the thing in question willfully. It must be proved in an action of deceit. [Rawson]
Secundum Allegataet probata According to the pleadings and the proofs
Secus (Otherwise), to the contrary effect
Semble (It seems). Used in Reports to show that a point is not decided directly, but maybe inferred
Sine Die Without day; indefinitely
Sine Proble Without issue
Sine Qua Non An indispensable requisite
Solatium A sum paid to an injured party over and above the actual damages by way of solace to his wounded feelings
Spes Successionis The chance of an heir-apparent succeeding to an estate
Stare Decisis To stand by thing decided; to abide by precedents where the same points come again in litigation
Status quo Existing condition
Strictissimi Juris Of the most strict law
Sub Modo Under condition or restriction
Subpoena A writ commanding attendance in a court under penalty
Sub Judice In course of a trial
Sub Silentio In silence
Suggestio Falsi A false suggestion, misrepresentation
Sui Juris (Of his own right), a person who is neither a minor nor insane nor subject to any disability, as opposed to alieni juris.
Suppressio Veri A wilful concealment of a truth
Sus. Per. Coll Let him be hanged by the neck

T | List of Important Legal Words and Phrases

Terminus A Quo The starting point
Terminus Ad Quem The terminal point
Terra Firma Firm-ground
Totidem Verbis In so many words
Toties Quoties As often as occasion arises
Transfer Inter Vivos Transfer between living persons [S. 2(d). Government Savings Certificates Act]
Trustee do son Tort One who, of his own authority, enters into the possession or attends to the management of the property which belongs beneficially to another
Turpis Causa A base or immoral consideration, on which no action can be founded

U | List of Important Legal Words and Phrases

Uberrima Fides (Most entire confidence). Contracts made between persons in a particular relationship of confidence, as guardian and ward, attorney and client, or insured and insurer, require the fullest information to be given beforehand by the person in whom the confidence is reposed to the person confiding, or the court will refuse to enforce the contract on behalf of the former. [Rawson]
Ubi jus ibi remedium When there is a right, there is a remedy
Ultimtus Haeres The ultimate or last heir
Ultra Vires Beyond their powers. It means that something has been clone by a person or body of persons which was beyond him, or their power

V | List of Important Legal Words and Phrases

Vadium Mortuum A dead pledge; a mortgage
Valebat Quantum Let it have its weight
Vi Et Armis By force of arms
Vide See; a word of reference
Vires Authority; power
Vis Major Irresistible force
Viva Voce By word of mouth

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Author: Mayank Shekhar

Mayank is a student at Faculty of Law, Delhi University. Under his leadership, Legal Bites has been researching and developing resources through blogging, educational resources, competitions, and seminars.

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