Important Legal Maxims and Phrases for CLAT 2024

Constitutional Law

What is Legal Maxim?

A legal maxim is a well-established legal idea, proposal, or doctrine, usually expressed in Latin. Most of these Latin maxims originated from the Medieval era in European states that employed Latin as their official language.

  • These principles aid courts worldwide in implementing current laws in a fair and just manner, allowing them to resolve disputes before them.
  • Such principles do not have legal authority, but when courts use them in deciding legal matters, or the legislature adopts them in enacting legislation, they take on the form of law and serve as the foundation for sound judgments.

Why learn Legal Maxims for CLAT?

Legal Maxims are one of the important topics in Legal Aptitude subject. Usually, two types of questions are asked under legal aptitude in CLAT:

  • Legal Reasoning
  • Legal Knowledge

The legal maxims questions are categorized under Legal Knowledge. In the CLAT exam, you can expect 3-4 questions on this topic. 

List of Important Legal Maxims for CLAT 2024

Here is the list of the top 50 important legal maxims and phrases for the CLAT examination 2024.

Legal terms and maxims for UG CLAT 2024 are as follows: 

  1. Ab Initio – From the beginning.
  2. Actionable per se – The very act is punishable and no proof of damage is required.
  3. Actio personalis moritur cum persona – A personal right of action dies with the person. In other sense, if he dies the right to sue is gone.
  4. Actori incumbit onus probandi – The burden of proof is on the plaintiff.
  5. Actus Reus Non Facit Reum Nisi Mens Sit Rea – Conviction of a crime requires proof of a criminal act and intent. or an act does not make a defendant guilty without a guilty mind. or an act does not constitute guilt unless done with a guilty intention.
  6. Ad hoc – For the particular end or case at hand.
  7. Alibi – At another place, elsewhere.
  8. Amicus Curiae – A friend of court or member of the Bar who is appointed to assist the Court.
  9. Ante Litem Motam – Before a suit is brought; before controversy is instituted, or spoken before a lawsuit is brought.
  10. Assentio mentium – The meeting of minds, i.e mutual assents.
  11. Audi alteram partem – No man shall be condemned unheard.
  12. Bona fide – In good faith.
  13. Bona vacantia – Goods without an owner.
  14. Boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem – It is the part of a good judge to enlarge his jurisdiction, i.e. remedial authority.
  15. Caveat – A caution registered with the public court to indicate to the officials that they are not to act in the matter mentioned in the caveat without first giving notice to the caveator.
  16. Caveat actor – Let the doer beware
  17. Caveat emptor – Let the buyer beware.
  18. Caveat venditor -Let the seller beware.
  19. Certiorari – A writ by which orders passed by an inferior court is quashed.
  20. Corpus – Body.
  21. Corpus delicti – The facts and circumstances constituting a crime and Concrete evidence of a crime, such as a corpse (dead body). Also, it refers to the principle that a crime must be proved to have occurred before a person can be convicted of committing that crime.’ (This definition is mostly used in Western Law.)
  22. Damnum sine injuria – Damage without injury.
  23. De facto – In fact.
  24. De jure – By-law.
  25. De minimis – About minimal things.
  26. De Minimis Non Curat Lex – The law does not govern trifles (unimportant things) or law ignores insignificant details. Or, A common law principle whereby judges will not sit in judgment of extremely minor transgressions (offence, wrongdoings) of the law.
  27. De novo – To make something anew.
  28. Dictum – Statement of law made by judge in the course of the decision but not necessary to the decision itself.
  29. Doli incapax – Incapable of crime.
  30. Detinue – Tort of wrongfully holding goods that belong to someone else.
  31. Donatio mortis causa – Gift because of death. Or a future gift was given in expectation of the donor’s imminent death and only delivered upon the donor’s death.
  32. Estoppel – Prevented from denying.
  33. Ex gratia – As favour.
  34. Ex officio – Because of an office held.
  35. Ex parte – Proceedings in the absence of the other party.
  36. Ex post facto – Out of the aftermath, or After the fact.
  37. Fatum – Beyond human foresight.
  38. Factum probans – Relevant fact.
  39. Fraus est celare fraudem – It is a fraud to conceal a fraud.
  40. Functus officio – No longer having power or jurisdiction.
  41. Furiosi nulla voluntas est – Mentally impaired or mentally incapable persons cannot validly sign a will, contract or form the frame of mind necessary to commit a crime. or a person with mental illness has no free will.
  42. Habeas corpus – A writ to have the body of a person to be brought in before the judge.
  43. Ignorantia juris non-excusat – ignorance of the law excuses not or Ignorance of the law excuses no one. In other words, A person who is unaware of a law may not escape liability for violating that law merely because one was unaware of its content.
  44. Injuria sine damno – Injury without damage.
  45. Ipso facto – By the mere fact.
  46. In promptu – In readiness.
  47. In lieu of – Instead of.
  48. In personam – A proceeding in which relief I sought against a specific person.
  49. Innuendo – Spoken words that are defamatory because they have a double meaning.
  50. In status quo – In the present state.
See also  All you need to know about Offence

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