Uses of legal maxims


Legal maxims are an established principle which is generally in a Latin language. The legal maxims are mostly from the mediaeval era in the European States and Latin language is considered as their legal language. These maxims give a guidance to the court from all over the world in applying the existing laws in a fair and just manner and it enables the court to decide the issues before it. These maxims doesn’t have the authority of the law but when the court applies this Maxim in the issues then these principles takes the form of law and provide the basis of sound judgements.

Uses of legal maxims
Legal maxims are used to avoid usage of long definitions into a short simple word or term. So instead of using the whole long definition legal Maxims are used.
Example:- ‘a fortiori’ maxim. It literary means that because one fact is true then the other fact related and included to it must also be true.

Thomas Hobbes, an English philosopher said in his book ‘doctor and student’ that legal maxims are of the same strength as that of Acts and Statutes.
Francis Bacon, great jurist and great philosopher of natural science, said in his book ‘Maxims of the Law’ that maxims are used in ‘deciding doubts of the cases, a proper guidance to the judgements, reducing the unprofitable subtlety and convert it into sound and substantial sense of the law, improvising vulgar errors, deciding doubts.


Some of the uses or meaning of the maxims are not only known to the law professionals but to other people as well. The monotonous nature of some of the maxims like ‘affidavit’ which means ‘a formal statement of a fact’, ‘bona fide’ which means ‘in good faith’, ‘i.e.’ which means ‘that is or restating something that may not have been made clear earlier’, ‘jus’ which means ‘right’, ‘mala fide’ which means ‘wrongful intension or bad faith’, ‘per capita’ which means ‘dividing money equally as per the number of beneficiaries’, ‘post mortem’ which means ‘ after death or an autopsy’, ‘quantum’ which means ‘how much’, ‘vice versa’ which means’ the other way around’, ‘viz.’ which means ‘namely’ are Latin maxims which are used in our daily life.


Uses of legal maxims in courts
Ab initio – It means from the beginning of the law or act
The Supreme Courts used this Latin maxim to arrive at a conclusion.
Case law
Delhi Development Authority Vs. Kochhar Construction Work and Others.
In this case, the appellant who has an unregistered firm filed a suit in the High Court of Delhi. The court held that the proceedings were ab initio defective, since it is an unregistered firm and further it held that section 69 clause 1 of the Arbitration Act, 1940 states that no suit to enforce a right arising from a contract with any court on behalf of any person suing as a partner in a firm against the other person alleged to be a partner in a firm unless the firm is registered.

Actus Dei Nemini Facit Injuriam – It means that no man is to be held responsible for the Act of God.
Act of God literary means an act of nature without any human intervention. Which cannot be forced seen by any amount of human ability and skill. If seen cannot be prevented by any means, care and skill.
An event over which a person has no control over occurs and the damage is caused by the forces of nature. In such cases the defendant will not be liable in a court of law.
An act of God is an inevitable accident which results in the loss of the mankind.
Example:- Mr. A booked a party hall for a party which was to be held during the weekend. An earthquake occurs due to which the party hall collapsed and the party couldn’t take place. Here in this case, the manager of the party hall cannot be held liable as it was an act of God.

Aishwarya Says:

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