101 Maxims of Law & Equity

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  1. Accusare nemo se debet nisi coram deo. No one is bound to accuse himself except before God. 
  1. Acta exteriora indicant interiora secreta. Outward acts indicate the thoughts hidden within.
  1. Actio non datur non damnificato. An action is not given to one who is not injured.
  1. Actore non probante, reus absolvitur. If the plaintiff does not prove his case, the defendant is acquitted. 
  1. Actori incumbut onus probandi. The burden of proof rests on the plaintiff.
  1. Actus Dei nemini est damnosus. An act of God is injurious to no one.
  1. Actus me invito factus non est meus actus. An act (by me) against my will is not my act.
  1. Ædificatum solo solo cedit. What is built on the land goes with the land.
  1. Æquitas est æqualitas. Equity is equality.
  1. Æquitas Uxoribus, liberis, creditoribus maxime favet. Equity most favors wives, children, and creditors.
  1. Æquum et bonum est lex legum. What is equitable and good is the law of laws.





  1. Chirographum non extans præsumitur solutum. When the evidence of a debt is not in existence, it is presumed to have been discharged.
  1. Cogitationis poenam nemo patitur. No one is punished for his thoughts.
  1. Commercium jure gentium commune esse debet et non in monopolium et privatum paucorum quæstum convertendum. Commerce, by the law of nations, ought to be common and not converted into a monopoly and the private gain of a few.
  1. Conscientia dicitur a con et scio, quasi scire cum Deo. Conscience is so called from con and scio, to know, as it were, with God.
  1. Consensus facit legum. Consent makes law.
  1. Corpus corporatum ex uno potest consistere. One person may constitute a corporation.
  1. Cujus is est solum, ejus est usque ad coelum. The person who owns the soil owns up to the sky. One who owns the surface of the ground owns, or has an exclusive right to everything that is on it above it to an indefinite height.
  1. Culpa lata dolo æquiparatur. Gross negligence is equivalent to fraud.


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  1. Da mihi factum, dabo tibi ius. Give me the facts, I will give you the law. 
  1. Deus solus hæredem facere potest, non homo. God alone, and not man, can make an heir.
  1. Dolo malo pactum se non servaturum. An agreement induced by fraud will not stand.
  1. Dolus et fraus una in parte sanari debent. Deceit and fraud should always be remedied.




  1. Eam domum unicuique nostrum debere existimari, ubi quisque sedes et tabulas haberet suarumque rerum constitutionem fecisset. (It is decided that) for each of us it should be considered his home where each has his residence and records and has set up the management of his affairs.
  1. Ejus est non nolle qui potest velle. A person may consent tacitly who can consent expressly.
  1. Equitas sequitur legem. Equity follows the law.
  1. Ex maleficio non oritur contractus. A contract does not arise out of an illegal act.
  1. Ex nudo pacto non oritur action. No action arises on a contract without consideration.
  1. Extraneus est subditus qui extra terram, i.e. potestam regis, natus est. A foreigner is a subject who is born out of the territory – that is, the jurisdiction – of the King.
  1. Ex turpi contractu non oritur action. No action arises from a wrongful contract.


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  1. Facta sunt ptentiora verbis. Deeds (or facts) are more powerful than words.
  1. Fatetur facinus qui judicium fugit A person who flees judgement confesses guilt.
  1. Favorabiliores rei potius quam actors habentur. Defendants are rather to be favored than plaintiffs.
  1. Fere quibuscunque modis obligamur, isdem in contrarium actis liberamur. In nearly the same way as we make obligations, we are freed from them, reversing the transaction. (That is, by mind and body). 
  1. Fictio cedit veritati; fictio juris non est ubi veritas. Fiction yields to truth; where the truth appears, there is no fiction of law.
  1. Filius est nomen naturæ, sed hæres nomen juris. “Son” is a name of nature, but “heir” a name of law.
  1. Fraus omnia corrumpit. Fraud corrupts all.




  1. Idem non esse et non apparere. It is the same thing not to exist and not to appear.
  1. Id quod nostrum est sine facto nostro ad alium tranferri non potest. What belongs to us cannot be transferred to another without our act (or deed).
  1. Ignorantia juris non excusat. Ignorance of the law does not excuse.
  1. Improba possessio firmum titulum possidendi præstare nullum potest. Taking over a property dishonestly can give no valid claim of possession.
  1. Incerta pro nullis habentur. Things uncertain are considered as nothing. 
  1. In favorem vitæ, libertatis, et innocentiæ omnia præsumuntur. All presumptions are in favour of life, liberty, and innocence.
  1. In genere quicunque aliquid dicit, sive actor sive reus, necesse es tut probat. In general, whoever alleges anything, whether plaintiff or defendant, must prove it.
  1. In judicio non creditor nisi juritas. In court no one is trusted except those sworn.
  1. In jure omnis definitio periculosa est. In law every definition is dangerous.
  1. In verbus non verba sed res et ratio quærenda est. In wording, it is not the words but the substance and the meaning that is to be sought.
  1. Ira furor brevis est. Anger is a short insanity.
  1. Ira hominis non implet justitiam Dei. The wrath of a man does not fulfil the justice of God.




  1. Judex ante oculos æquitatem semper habere debet. A judge ought always to have equity before his eyes.
  1. Jus ex injuria non oritur. A right does not arise from a wrong.
  1. Jus non patitur ut idem bis solvatur. The law does not permit that the same thing be twice paid.
  1. Jus publicum privatorum pactis mutari non potest. A public right cannot be altered by the agreements of private persons.




  1. Le contrat fait la loi. The contract makes the law.
  1. Legem terræ amittentes perpetuam infamiæ notam inde merito incurrunt. Those who lose the law of the land thereby justly incur an eternal stigma of infamy.
  1. Leges vigilantibus, non dormientibus subveniunt. The laws aids those who keep watch, not those who sleep (that is, vigilant, not the negligent).
  1. Libertas omnibus rebus favorabilior est. Liberty is more favoured than all things.




  1. Mala grammatica non vitiate chartam; sed in expositione instrumentorum mala grammatica quoad fieri posit evitanda est. Bad grammar does not vitiate a deed; but in the construction of instruments, bad grammar, as far as possible, is to be avoided.
  1. Manifesta probatione non indigent. Obvious facts are not in need of proof.
  1. Maxime ita dicta quia maxima es tejus dignitas et certissima auctoritas, atque quod maxime omnibus probetur. A maxim is so called because its dignity is chiefest and its authority is the most certain, and because it is most approved by all.
  1. Mercis appellation homines non contineri. Under the name of merchandise mankind is not included.




  1. Nefarius est per formulas legis laqueos innectere innocentibus. It is vicious to lay snares for the innocent through forms of law.
  1. Ne in crastinum quod possis hodie. Put not off until tomorrow what you can do today.
  1. Neminem Lædit qui jure suo utitur. A person who exercises his own rights injures no one.
  1. Nemo nascitur Artifex. No one is born an expert. - Wisdom in the law is acquired only through diligent study.
  1. Nemo præsens nisi intelligat. One is not present unless he understands.
  1. Nemo videtur fraudare eos qui sciunt et consentiunt. No one is considered deceiving those who know and consent.
  1. Nihil commune habet proprietas cum possession. Ownership has nothing in common with possession.
  1. Non ex opinionibus singulorum, sed ex communi usu, nomina exaudiri debent. Names of things ought to be understood according to common usage, not according to the opinions of individuals.
  1. Non videntur rem amittere quibus propria non fuit. They are not considered as losing a thing if it was not their own.
  1. Nullus liber homo capiatur, aut imprisonetur. Let no free man be taken or imprisoned.
  1. Nullus liber homo disseisietur de liberto tenemento suo, nisi per legale judicium parium suorum, vel per legem terræ. No freeman shall be dispossessed of his freehold, save by the lawful judgement of his peers, or by the law of the land.




  1. Omnis persona est homo, sed non vicissim. Every person is a man, but not every man a person.




  1. Pactum est duorum consensus atque convention. An agreement (pactum) is a meeting of minds and action by two (or more) persons.
  1. Peccata contra naturam sunt gravissima. Offenses against nature are the most serious.
  1. Personæ vice fungitur municipium et decuria. Towns and boroughs act in the role of persons. 
  1. Populus Anglicanus non suis legibus quas ipse elegerit tenetur obtemperare. The people of England are bound to obey only their own laws, which they themselves have chosen.




  1. Quid tibi fieri non vis, alteri ne feceris. Do not to another what you would not wish done to you.
  1. Qui facit per alium facit per se. The acts of an agent are considered the acts of the principal.
  1. Qui jure suo utitur, nemini facit injuriam. A person who exercises his proper right harms no one.
  1. Qui per alium facit per seipsum facere videtur. A person who does anything through another is considered as doing it himself.
  1. Qui tacet consentire videtur. A party who is silent appears to consent.
  1. Quod ad jus naturale attinet, omnes homines æquales sunt. All men are equal as far as natural law is concerned.
  1. Quod intitio non valet, tractu temporis non valet. What is void in the beginning does not become valid by passage of time.
  1. Quod meum est sine me auferri non potest. What is mine cannot be taken away without my consent.
  1. Quod non apparet non est. That which does not appear does not exist.
  1. Quod per recordum probatum non debet esse negatum. What is proved by the record ought not be denied.




  1. Recorda sunt vestige vetustatis et Veritatis. Records are vestiges of antiquity and truth.
  1. Regula pro lege, si deficit lex. If the law is inadequate, the maxim serves in its place.
  1. Rex non debet esse sub homine, sed sub Deo et sub lege, quia lex facit regem. The king ought to be under no man, but under God and the law, because the law makes a king.




  1. Semper necessitas probandi incumbit ei qui agit. The necessity of proving always rests on the claimant.
  1. Sermo index animi. Speech is the index of the mind.
  1. Si vis pacem, para bellum. If you want peace, prepare for war.
  1. Stabit præsumptio donec probetur in contrarium. A presumption will stand until proof is given to the contrary.
  1. Sua cuique domus arx esto. Let every man’s house be his castle.
  1. Subrogatio est transfusion unius creditoris in alium eadem vel mitiori conditione. Subrogation is the substituting one creditor in the place of another in the same or better condition.




  1. Titulus est justa causa possidendi id quod nostrum est. Title is the just cause of possessing that which is ours.
  1. Traditio loqui facit chartem. Delivery makes the deed (document) speak.




  1. Verba debent intelligi uta liquid operentur. Words ought to be so understood that they may have some effect.
  1. Vigilantibus non dormientibus subvenit lex. The laws aid the vigilant, not those who sleep.
  1. Vox emissa volat; litera scripta manet. The uttered voice flies; the written letter remains


Download a pdf version of this list here.