15 Latin legal terms every law student should know

Latin legal terms are something which is certainly a language outside from our day to day life, but these are the terms which are generally used in Court during proceedings, even Judges uses these terms while pronouncing various judgment. Being a law student it is important to know at least those legal terms which are often used. You will be surprised to know that most of these terms you have already listened in your favorite legal dramas.

For those terms which is still unknown to you we’ve picked up 15 important legal terms, defined them, and explained their uses so as to make the very meaning of the word easy and simple. So let’s get started…!!

Latin termLegal definitionExplanation
Ab initioFrom the beginningOften used in contract where it defines whether the terms and conditions if the contract were correct from the beginning or the contract was void.
Ad hocTo this or for a particular endWhere there has been a problem and that problem can’t be solved by the existing group, then a new group is created to look upon the matter.
Amicus CuriaeAlso known as friend of court, a person who is not the party to the law suit but is present and allowed before the court to advise the court in the specific matter or point of law.This term is used in the criminal proceedings where the person is not involved in the case but is present to provide evidence and assisting the court the required information for the same. E;g medical practitioner of medical jurists.
Actus reusGuilty act, wrongful act which makes physical action in committing crime.Actus reus is the act of the crime, where the physical activity is done with the intent to commit crime, Stabbing knife to a person’s body.
Bona fideIn good faith, where the act is done with a good intention and to deceit or fraud.An act done with a legitimate intention and lack of fraudulent activities.
Corpus delictiBody of the crime, the substance of the crime that the prosecutor must prove and that consist of an injury or loss. It refers to the physical evidence present at the crime scene and may also consist the body of the victim who was being murdered.
De jureBy right concerned with something that exist from the authority of law.A de jure government is one that’s codified and enshrined by national laws, proving that it is legal and legitimate.
Ex post factoAfter the fact, a recent ruling that will be applied retrospectivelyThe Indian Government forbids the use of ex post facto laws made by the Indian govt and individual state.
In cameraIn chambers, in privateAt the discretion if the Judges, the proceeding or part of the proceeding may take place without giving the public access.
In limineOn the threshold, being a motion, petition, or order regarding the admissibility of evidence whose exclusion is sought especially on the ground that it is prejudicial.A request for the exclusion of certain evidence because it would unfairly sway the jury or judge.
Locus in quoPlace in which, place where legal action arouses. The scene of a crime.
Mens ReaGuilty mind, a culpable mental stateSeeks to establish defendants intent.
NexusConnection, a connection between the things, person or an event especially if that is a chain or part of the causation of the act.In legal sense, it is in respect to that of the connecting laws with jurisdiction.
Pro hac viceFor this occasionPro hac vice refers to the lawyers take part in out-of -state trial where they don’t hold any license.
Ouid pro quoSomething for something, something given(consideration) or received for something in return.In a quid pro quo, one person provides another with a favor or an advantage, with the other person returning the favor.

By- Mansi Sharma

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