May 21, 2024

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Legal Maxims and Phrases- Principle’s and Case Laws

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A Legal Maxim or Legal Phrase expounds the legal principle involved in the proposition or concept. Most of the Legal Latin Maxims originate from the Medieval era of the European states where the language of Latin played the preference.

Legal Maxim – An expression which is more like a term of any fundamental rule or principle. It is often considered to be pedagogical relating to the specific actions. A Legal Maxim is one which brings the legal principle and the concept.

There are many different legal maxims which are used regularly in the practice of Judicial proceedings and other areas.

The following are the Legal Maxims and Legal Phrases used commonly in the field of law by the Practitioners and in Judicial Proceedings –

1.Ab InitioFrom the very beginning/ From the first act.Dilip Kumar Mukherjee V. Commercial Tax Officer (AIR 1965 Cal 498)
2.Actus Non-Facit Reum Nisi Mens Sit ReaAn act does not make anyone guilty unless there is criminal intent.Commissioner, Trade Tax U.P., Lucknow V. Project Technologist Pvt., Ltd., (2012) 48 VST 406 (All)
3.Ad HocFor the special purpose.Addison & Co. Ltd., Madras V. Collector of Central Excise (1997 Mad ELT 532)
4.Ad ValoremTo be based on the value.Ganesh Oil Mills Ltd., & Ors., V. State of J&K and Ors., (MANU/ JK 0275 2004)
5.Audi Alteram PartemNo man shall be condemned unheard.Hari Niwas Gupta V. The State of Bihar and Others (MANU/BH 0314 2015)
6.Actus ReusGuilty act.Vinod Solanki V. Union of India (2009 (233) ELT 157 SC
7.De FactoExisting in reality, when it is a contrary to or not established by law.Assistant Collector of Central Excise, Calcutta Division V. National Tobacco Co., of India Ltd., (1978 (2) ELT 416)
8.Delegatus Non-Potest DelegareA delegate himself cannot delegate and when a delegated power cannot be further delegated.Valvoline Cummins Limited V. DCIT & Ors., (2008 TIOL 347  DEL HC)
9.Ejusdem GenerisOf the same class or of the same kind.Mega Enterprises V. CCE & C (2015 TIOL 1142)
10.Ex Post FactoAfter the fact.Durga Works V. Assistant Collector of Central Excise ( 1991 KA 0270)
11.Habeas CorpusTo produce the body.Union of India V. Paul Manickam., (2003 ELT 6 (162) SC )
12.Ignorantia facti excusat – Ignorantia Juris Non-ExcusatIgnorance of facts may be excused but not the ignorance of law.Ajai Kumar Agnihotri & Anr., V. CCE (2013 DEL HC 1049)
13.In AbsentiaIn absence / In one’s absence.Webel SL.Energy System Limited V. Union of India (2010 CAL 532 ELT)
14.Locus StandiThe right of a party to appear and be heard before a court of law.Oswal Chemicals and Fertilizers Ltd., V. Commissioner of C.Ex., Bolpur (2015 ELT 617 SC)
15.MandamusA writ or order that is issued from a court of superior jurisdiction that commands an inferior court / To refrain an act which is required by law as an obligation.Syndicate v. Union of India. (AIR 1975 SC 460)
16.Quid Pro QuoSomething in return.Commissioner of Central Excise, V. Chhata Sugar Co., Ltd (2004 (165) ELT 369 SC)
17.Res Ipsa LoquiturThe thing speaks for itself.T.Shankar Prasad V. State of Andhra Pradesh (2004 (164) ELT 143 SC)
18.Ubi Jus Ibi RemediumWhere there is a right, there is a remedy.Mithilesh Kumari V. Prem Behari Khare (1989 (40) ELT 257 SC)
19.Volenti Non-Fit InjuriaTo a willing person, no injury is done.Condon V. Basia (1985 2 ALL ER 453).
20.Obiter DictumOf the same matter / Same subject.Collector of Central Excise V. Rolling Mills., (1997 ELT 94 8 SCC)
21.Per IncuriamBy mistake.Commissioner of Central Excise V. Medico Labs and Anr., ( 2004 ELT 173 GUJ)
22.Non-ObstanteNotwithstanding (Applies to any statute, on the contrary).Commissioner of C.Ex., V. Dalmia Cement Ltd., ( 2015 ELT 647 SC)
23.Sub SilentoUnder Silence.State of Maharashtra V. Subash Arjundas Kataria (2012 ELT 289 SC)
24.Res JudicataA thing adjudged.West Coast Paper Mills V. Superintendent of Central Excise and Ors., (1984 16 ELT 91 KAR)
25.Ratio DecidendiThe reason or the rationale for the decision by a court.Ratio Decidendi and Common Cause V. Union of India (1987 4 SCC 25)


  • Trayner’s Legal Maxims.
  • Broom’s Legal Maxims.
  • MANU – Manupatra.
  • TIOL – Taxindiaonline.
  • SCC – Supreme Court Cases.
  • AIR – All India Reporter.
  • ELT – Excise Law Times

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