HM Courts & Tribunals Service - Glossary of terms - Latin

Below are common Latin terms and their meaning. To find a particular term, click on one of the following letters.

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Latin Terms

List of latin terms
Actus Reus Guilty act The offence of which the defendant is accused
Ad Colligenda Bona To collect the goods A temporary order for the Administration of an estate of a deceased person used when the estate is of a perishable nature
Ad Hoc For this purpose Ad Hoc decisions are made as and when a situation demands:- Ad Hoc committees are formed to address a particular issue - Ad Hoc meetings would take place to discuss specific matters
Ad Idem Of same mind ie as one; agreed eg the parties are ad idem on this point
Ad Infinitum Without limit Describes an event apparently continuing without end
Ad Litem For the suit Denotes a temporary appointment which continues during legal proceedings ie Guardian Ad Litem
Amicus Curiae A friend of the court A neutral party who does not represent any individual party in the case who will be asked by the Court to make representations from an independent viewpoint
Ante Before An indication within text to refer to an earlier passage

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Bona Fide In good faith A Bona Fide Agreement is one entered into genuinely without attempt to fraud
Bona Vacantia   Denotes the absence of any known person entitled to the estate of a deceased person

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Caveat Beware/take care An entry in the court records that effectively prevents action by another party without first notifying the party entering the Caveat
Compos Mentis Of sound mind Legally fit to conduct/defend proceedings
Cor (Coram) In the presence of  

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De Bonis Non Administratis Of goods not administered A person appointed to administer an estate following the death of the original administrator
De Facto - In fact "As a matter of fact"
De Jure By right  
Doli Incapax   Incapable of crime
Duces Tecum Bring with you Order to produce document to court

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Erratum An error  
Exempli Gratia (eg) For example - Used when qualifying a statement by explaining through a relevant example
Ex Gratia As a matter of favour An Ex Gratia payment would be awarded without the acceptance of any liability or blame
Ex Officio By virtue of his office A magistrate sitting with a judge at the Crown Court would appear ex officio in a case where no judicial function is to be exercised by the magistrate eg case committed to Crown Court for sentence only
Ex Parte By a party An ex parte application is made to the Court during proceedings by one party in the absence of another or without notifying the other party
Ex Post Facto By a subsequent act Something that occurs after the event but having a retrospective effect

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Forum Conveniens At a convenient place A Court having jurisdiction in a particular case
Functus Officio Having discharged duty A judicial or official person prevented from taking a matter further because of limitation by certain regulations

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Habeas Corpus Produce the body A writ which directs a person to produce someone held in custody before the court

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Ibid In the same place Used in text to refer to a page previously mentioned
Id Est (ie) - That is to say Used as a description to explain a statement
Ignorantia Juris non excusat - Ignorance of the law is no excuse If committing an offence a guilty party cannot use as a defence the fact that they did so without knowledge that they were breaking the law
In Camera In the chamber The hearing of a case in private without the facts being reported to the public
In Curia In open court The hearing of a case before a court sitting in public
In Personam Against the person Proceedings issued against or with reference to a specific person - an admiralty action in personam would be issued against the owner of a ship
In Re In the matter of A heading in legal documents which introduces the title of the proceedings
In Rem Against the matter Proceedings issued or directed against property as opposed to a specific person - an admiralty action in rem would be issued against the ship itself
Inter Alia Among other things Indicates that the details given are only an extract from the whole
In Situ In its original situation  
Intra Within  
Intra Vires (See Ultra Vires) Within the power of An act that falls within the Jurisdiction of the Court
Ipso Facto By the fact The reliance upon facts that together prove a point

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Locus in quo The place in which during proceedings may be used as reference to subject matter ie scene of accident

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Mens Rea Guilty mind The intention to commit an offence whilst knowing it to be wrong
Mutatis Mutandis - The Necessary changes being made Denotes that instructions should not be followed verbatim but by amending where necessary

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Non Compos Mentis Not sound in mind A person classed as unfit to conduct/defend legal proceedings
Nota Bene (nb) Note well An abbreviation denoting that the reader of an article should make a particular note of the article mentioned.
Nulla Bona No effects A return entered by a Sheriff to a High Court writ of execution which indicates the defendant had no goods of any value to remove

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Obiter Dictum A saying by the way Words said in passing by a Judge on a legal point but not constituting part of the evidence or judgment

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Per As stated by  
Per Capita By heads eg the cost is £50 per capita - £50 each person
Per Pro (pp) Through another A person delegated to act for another
Per Se By itself Denoting that the topic should be taken alone
Post After An indication to refer to something to be found further on
Prima Facie First sight Prima Facie evidence would be considered sufficient to prove a case unless disproved - if no Prima Facie evidence can be offered there is no case to answer
Pro Forma A matter of form Pro Forma procedure is performed subject to and following an agreed manner
Pro Rata In proportion Dividends distributed on a Pro Rata basis would be according to the amount of investment
Pro Tempore (Pro Tem) For the time being Temporarily

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Quasi As if Any person exercising powers similar to those of a judge would be sitting in a Quasi-Judicial capacity

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Ratio Decidendi   The principles of law applied by a Court upon which a judicial decision is based
Res Judicata A thing ajudged Once a case has been finally decided upon by a Court the same parties cannot attempt to raise the issue by or during further proceedings
Res Ipsa Loquitur The thing speaks for itself An event that has occurred which, if the subject of litigation, would not require an onus of proof by the plaintiff because of the obvious negligence of the defendant

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Semble It appears  
Sine Die Without a day A hearing adjourned sine die stands open indefinitely without a further hearing having been allocated
Sub Judice In the course of trial Whilst a court case is under consideration. Proceedings are sub-Judice and details cannot be disclosed
Subpoena ad Testificum To produce evidence A writ directed to a person commanding him/her, under a penalty, to appear before a Court and give evidence

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Ultra Vires (See Intra Vires) Beyond the power An act that falls outside or beyond the jurisdiction of the court

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Videlicet (Viz) Namely Used in text to indicate examples
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