Common (and useful) Latin Legal Terms
Latin Legal Terms
Here you can find latin legal terms used both in Ancient Rome and in the present times, in the modern legal system. If a certain expression has two or more possible translations, here we give you only what it means in the legal context.
From the beginning
A guilty deed or act
For this purpose
To infinity, without limit, forever
Elsewhere, at another place
Friend of the court (i.e., impartial spokesperson)
Braccae illae virides cum subucula rosea et tunica Caledonia-quam elenganter concinnatur!
Those green pants go so well with that pink shirt and the plaid jacket!
A write from a High Court to Lower Court
The body of the offense
Ecce hora! Uxor mea me necabit!
look at the time! My wife will kill me!
Having been made in error.
et alii (et al.)
And other things. Generally used in the sense of “and so forth”.
et sequens (et seq.)
And the following ones. Used in citations to indicate that the cited portion extends to the pages following the cited page.
et uxor (et ux.)
And wife. Usually used instead of naming a man’s wife as a party in a case.
And husband. Usually used instead of naming a woman’s husband as a party in a case.
From [for] one party A decision reached, or case brought, by or for one party without the other party being present.
ex post facto
From a thing done afterward Commonly said as “after the fact.”
ex post facto law
A retroactive law. E.g. a law that makes a past act illegal that was not illegal when it was done.
Fac ut gaudeam.
Make my day.
in loco parentis
In place of a parent
Amongst other things
By that very fact
Lex clavatoris designati rescindenda est.
The designated hitter rule has got to go.
Suit pending Often used in the context of public announcements of legal proceedings to come.
We command A writ issue by a higher court to a lower one, ordering that court or related officials to perform some administrative duty. Often used in the context of legal oversight of government agencies.
Guilty state of mind
Mellita, domi adsum.
Honey, I’m home.
Manner of operation A person’s particular way of doing things. Used when using behavioral analysis while investigating a crime. Often abbreviated “M.O.”
motion in limine
Motion at the start. Motions offered at the start of a trial, often to suppress or pre-allow certain evidence or testimony.
I do not wish to contend. A type of plea whereby the defendant neither admits nor denies the charge.
It does not follow, i.e., an inconsistent statement.
Nullo metro compositum est.
It doesn’t rhyme.
Non curo. Si metrum non habet, non est poema.
I don’t care. If it doesn’t rhyme, it isn’t a poem.
nunc pro tunc
now for then An action by a court to correct a previous procedural or clerical error.
while the litigation is pending. Court orders used to provide relief until the final judgement is rendered. Commonly used in divorce proceedings.
by the head. In the context of estate planning, dividing money up strictly and equally according to the number of beneficiaries.
by that against. Legal shorthand for “in contrast to”
through the court. A decision delivered by a multi-judge panel, such as an appellate court, in which the decision is said to be authored by the court itself, instead of situations where those individual judges supporting the decision are named. It is used when all the judges are in agreement on the decision.
On the face of it
pro hac vice
For this occasion
For the time being
Quo signo nata es?
What’s your sign?
In the matter of…
Re vera, potas bene.
Say, you sure are drinking a lot.
The decision stands. The obligation of a judge(s) to stand by a prior precedent.
Sic faciunt omnes.
Everyone is doing it.
subpoena duces tecum
bring with you under penalty An order compelling an entity to produce physical evidence in a legal matter.
Te audire no possum. Musa sapientum fixa est in aure.
I can’t hear you. I have a banana in my ear.
Let it all hang out.
Trial de novo
New trial. In the context of personal injury cases, the term refers to one parties request for a trial to a jury because they are dissatisfied with the results of a mandatory arbitration under the Superior Court rules.
Ventis secundis, tene cursum.
Go with the flow.
Vescere bracis meis.
Eat my shorts.
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