CLA Legal Terminology - Latin Terms

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1

a fortiori

with stronger reason

2

a priori

from what goes before; from the cause to the effect

3

ab initio

from the beginning

4

actiones in personam

personal actions

5

ad curiam

before the court, to the court

6

ad damnum clause

to the damage, clause of complaint which states plaintiff's monetary loss

7

ad faciendum

to do

8

ad hoc

for this purpose, for this occasion

9

ad litem

for the suit, for the litigation

10

ad rem

to the thing at hand

11

ad valorem

according to the value

12

adversus

against

13

aggregatio menium

meeting of minds

14

alias dictus

otherwise called, also known as

15

alibi

in another place, elsewhere

16

aliunde

from another place, from without

17

alter ego

the other self

18

amicus curiae

friend of the court

19

animo

with intention, disposition, design, will

20

animus

mind, intention

21

ante litem motam

before suit brought, before litigation is filed

22

arguendo

in the course of the argument, for the sake of argument

23

assumpsit

he undertook, he promised

24

bona fide

good faith

25

capias

take, arrest

26

capita

persons, heads

27

causa mortis

by reason of death

28

caveat

beware, a warning

29

caveat emptor

let the buyer beware

30

certiorari

send the pleadings up

31

cestui

beneficiaries

32

cestui que trust

beneficiaries of the trust

33

circa

in the area of, about, concerning

34

compos mentis

of sound mind

35

consortium

union of lots of chances, conjugal fellowship of husband and wife

36

contra

against

37

coram nobis

before us ourselves

38

corpus

body

39

corpus delicti

body of the offense; essence of the crime

40

cum testamento annexo

with the will annexed

41

datum (pl., data)

1. a thing given; information 2. date

42

de facto

in fact, in deed, actually

43

de jure

of right, lawful

44

de novo

anew, afresh

45

de son tort

of his own wrong

46

dies non

not a day

47

duces tecum

bring with you

48

dum bene se gesserit

while he shall conduct himself, during good behavior

49

e converso

conversely, on the other hand

50

en banc

in the bench, all judges present

51

eo instanti

upon the instant

52

erratum (pl., errata)

error

53

et alii

and others

54

et sequentia

and as follows

55

et ux

and wife

56

et vir

and husband

57

ex delicto

(arising) from a tort

58

ex gratia

as a matter of favor

59

ex officio

from office, by virtue of his office

60

ex parte

one side only, by or for one party only

61

ex post facto

after the fact

62

facto

in fact, in or by the law

63

felonice

feloniously

64

fiat

let it be done, a short order that a thing be done

65

ictofieri

to be made up, to become

66

fieri facias

cause to be made (writ directing sheriff to reduce judgment debtor's property to money [sell it] for the amount of the judgment

67

flagrante delicto

in the very act of committing the crime

68

forum non conveniens

discretionary power of a court to decline jurisdiction over a case when the court believes that it should be tried elsewhere for the convenience of the parties and witnesses

69

gravis

serious, of importance

70

habeas corpus

you have the body

71

habendum clause

that part of deed which begins "to hand and to hold"; defines extent of ownership

72

honorarium

honorary fee or gift; compensation from gratitute

73

idem

the same as above

74

idem sonans

having the same sound

75

in curia

in court

76

in esse

in being, existence

77

in forma pauperis

permission given to a poor person to sue without liability for court costs

78

infra

beneath, below

79

in limine

at the beginning, threshold

80

in loco parentis

in place of a parent, one charged with parent's rights and obligations

81

in pari delicto

in equal fault

82

in personam

personally, against the person

83

in praesenti

at once; now

84

in re

in the matter

85

in rem

proceedings against a thing (a bank account or real estate) distringuished from those against a person

86

in specie

in the same or in similar form

87

instanter

immediately

88

inter alia, inter alios

among other things, between other persons

89

inter se

among themselves

90

inter vivos

between the living, from one person to another

91

in toto

in the whole, completely

92

in transitu

in transit

93

intra

within, inside

94

ipse dixit

he himself said (it), as an assertion made but not proven

95

ipso facto

by the fact itself

96

ita est

so it is

97

jura personarum

right of a person, rights of persons

98

jura rerum

rights of things

99

jure divino

by devine right

100

jure uxoris

in his wife's right

101

jus (pl. jura)

law, right, laws collectively

102

jus ad rem

a right to a thing

103

jus commune

the common law, the common right

104

jus gentium

the law of nations, international law

105

just habendi

the right to have a thing

106

just tertii

the right of a third party; the rights of another person

107

levari facias

cause to be levied, a writ of execution

108

lex

law

109

lex loci

law of the place where the cause of action arose

110

lis pendens

litigation pending, as in a lis pendens filed with real estate records to notify the world that the real estate is involved in litigation

111

locus delicti

the place of the crime or of the tort

112

locus sigilli (L.S.)

the place for the seal

113

mala

bad

114

mala fides

bad faith

115

mala in se

wrong in itself, an act which is morally wrong

116

mala praxis

malpractice

117

mala prohibita

acts declared in criminal by statute (failure to file a report), though no wrong in themselves (theft)

118

mala animo

with evil intent

119

madamus

we command, a writ used to compel an official to perform an act which she is required to perform

120

manu forti

with a strong hand, forcible entry

121

mens rea

guilty mind, most crimes require the element of intent (mens rea)

122

nil debet

he owns nothing

123

nil

nothing; of no account

124

nihil dicit

he says nothing, as in a default judgment against a defendant who does not raise a defense in the action

125

nisi prius

unless before (used to distinguish the court where trial was held from the appellate court)

126

nolle prosequi

unwilling to prosecute (a crime), prosecutor's discretion not to file charges in a particular case

127

nolo contendere

I will not contest it

128

non

not

129

non assumpsit

plea in defense; that he did not promise

130

non compos mentis

not of sound mind

131

non est factum

it is not his deed

132

non obstante

notwithstanding

133

non sequitur

it does not follow

134

nota bene (N.B.)

note well, take notice

135

nudum pactum

nude pact, bare agreement which lacks the consideration to form a valid contract

136

nul tort

no wrong done

137

nulla bona

no goods (wording used on the return of a writ fieri facias)

138

nunc pro tunc

now for then, as in an order nunc pro tunc to correct clerical error in a previous order

139

obiter dictum

remark which is not central to the main issue

140

onus probandi

the burden of proof

141

opus (pl., opera)

work, labor

142

ore tenus

by word of mouth, orally, as in a motion ore tenus

143

pari delicto

in equal guilt

144

pari passu

by equal progress, ratably, equitably, without preference

145

pater familias

father of the family

146

peculium

private property

147

pendens

pending

148

pendente lite

pending the suit, during litigation

149

per annum

annual, by the year

150

per capita

by the head, equally shared

151

per contra

in opposition

152

per curiam

by the court

153

per diem

by the day

154

per se

by itself, taken alone

155

per stirpes

by representation, by the roots or stocks for purposes of inheritance

156

post

after, later

157

post factum

after the fact, after the even

158

post-obit

to take effect after death

159

praecipe

writ commanding a person to do some act or to appear and show cause why she shoudl not do so; order to clerk of court to issue a summons or execution on judgment already rendered

160

prima facie

at first sight, on the face of it

161

pro bono

free of charge, without cost

162

pro forma

as a matter of form

163

pro hac vice

for this occasion

164

pro rata

according to the rate or proportion

165

pro se

appearing for oneself; personally

166

pro tanto

for so much, to that extent

167

pro tempore

for the time being, temporarily

168

prochein ami

next friend

169

publici juris

of public right

170

pur autre vie

for or during the life of another

171

quaere

question, doubt

172

quantum

how much, the amount

173

quare

wherefore

174

quare clausum fregit

breaking the close, trespass

175

quasi

as if, as if it were

176

quid pro quo

what for what, something for something (as in consideration for in a contract)

177

quo warranto

by the right or authority

178

res

thing, object, subject matter

179

res gestae

things dones, excited utterance

180

res ipsa loquitur

the thing speaks for itself

181

res judicata

a thing (matter) adjudged

182

respondeat superior

let the master answer

183

scienter

knowledge, awareness

184

scilicet

to wit, that is to say, namely (SS or ss)

185

scire facias

cause to know, give notice (writ used to revive a judgment that has expired [dormant])

186

scintilla

a spark, the least particle

187

secundum

according to

188

se defendendo

in self-defense

189

semper

always

190

seriatim

severally, separately

191

sic

thus, so, in such matter (used to indicate an error in original, quoted material)

192

sigillum

a seal

193

sine

without

194

sine die

without a day, without a specific day assigned for a future meeting

195

sine qua non

that without which a thing cannot occur; indispensable condition or part

196

stare decisis

to abide by decided cases

197

status quo

state in which, present state

198

sua sponte

voluntarily, of his own will and motion

199

sub silentio

under silence, without any notice being taken

200

sui generis

of its own kind or class, the only one of a kind, unique

201

sui juris

of his own right, having legal capacity to act for himself

202

supersedeas

superseding (as in the bond that accompanies a writ commanding a stay of proceedings pending appeal)

203

supra

above, cited in full above

204

tenere

to hold, to keep

205

terminus a quo

the starting point

206

ultra

beyond, in excess of, outside of

207

ultra vires

without power, beyong the powers of

208

venire facias

that you cause to come, a type of summons

209

versus

against

210

videlicet (viz.)

it is easy to see, that is to say, namely

211

vi et armis

by force and arms

212

vis-a-vis

one who (that which) is face to face with another

213

vivos

living

214

voir dire

to speak the truth, the process used to select jurors