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Glossary O-Z

Glossary of Legal Latin Terms

See also: Glossary A-E and Glossary F-N in this legal reference.

Glossary O-Z

  • Obiter Dictum definition: an observation by a judge on a matter not specifically before the court or not necessary in determining the issue before the court.
  • Obligatio consensu contracta meaning: a contract entered into by mere agreement (Roman law).
  • Obligatio litteris contracta meaning: a contract entered into by writing (Roman law).
  • Obligatio re contracta meaning: a contract entered into by conduct (Roman law).
  • Obligatio verbis contracta meaning: a contract entered into by words (Roman law).
  • Occupatio meaning: acquisition of ownership by possession of a thing not previously owned or a thing abandoned by its owner (Roman law).
  • Omne Majus Continet In Se Minus definition: The greater contains the less.
  • Omnia praesumuntur contra spoliatorem definition: All things are presumed against the individual who destroys evidence.
  • Omnis Innovatio Plus Novitate Perturbat Quam Utilitate Prodest definition: The disturbance resulting from an innovation is so great an evil as to outweigh any benefit that might arise from it.
  • Onus definition: the burden.
  • Pacta Sunt Servanda definition: agreements must be kept.
  • Parens Patriae definition: literally, father of the country. Refers to the inherent jurisdiction of the courts to make decisions concerning people who are not able to take care of themselves.
  • Pari Delicto definition: of equal fault.
  • Pari Passu definition: Equitably and without preference.
  • Pater est quem nuptiae demonstrant definition: The father is he who is married to the mother.
  • Pater familias meaning: the “head of the household,” holding the patria potestas over all descendants, male and female, through the male line (i.e., the agnatic family). He also had power over those in bondage through mancipatio (i.e., adopted sons and wives) (Roman law). Persons in his power were subject to his control in many matters, including life or death and marriage (Roman law). They were incapable of owning property and everything they acquired passed to the pater familias. The powers of a pater familias did not cease until his death (Roman law).
  • Patria potestas meaning: the right of the pater familias over the persons and property of the members of his agnatic family and slaves (Roman law). It included the right to put to death and entitlement to virtually all property and contractual rights acquired by his dependents (Roman law).
  • Patrocinium definition: A contract under Roman law where a man agrees to be another’s servant in exchange for food and shelter.
  • Patronus meaning: the former master of a slave (Roman law). He had many rights over the freed slave (libertinus), including the performance of services (opera) and certain rights of inheritance (Roman law). The freedman was obliged to show respect (obsequium) to his patron and was barred from bringing criminal actions against him or actions involving infamia (Roman law).
  • Peccatum illud horribile, inter Christianos non nominandum definition: that horrible crime not to be named among Christians.
  • Peculium meaning: personal fund of a son or slave allowed by the pater familias (who retained full ownership of the money). A son did have full control over the peculium castrense (funds acquired while on military service) (Roman law).
  • Pendente Lite definition: during litigation.
  • Per aes et libram meaning: the weighing out of copper or bronze necessary for a formal sale (Roman law).
  • Per Capita definition: by the head.
  • Per Curiam definition: on behalf of the court.
  • Per Incuriam definition: through want of care.
  • Per Infortunium definition: by misadventure.
  • Per Quod Consortium Amisit definition: whereby he loses the company of his wife.
  • Per Se definition: of itself.
  • Per Stirpes definition: by the plant.
  • Perigrinus meaning: anyone not a Roman citizen and therefore not entitled, normally, to the benefits of the ius civile (Roman law).
  • Pia Causa definition: charitable purposes.
  • Pignus meaning: a pledge by which a creditor obtained possession of property (Roman law). Ownership remained with the debtor, but the creditor had certain rights upon default (Roman law).
  • Piracy Jure Gentium definition: Piracy according to the law of nations.
  • Plene Administravit definition: Latin for administration (is) complete.
  • Præcipe or Precipe definition: an initiating document presented to a court clerk to be officially issued on behalf of the court or a the covering memo or letter from the lawyer (or plaintiff) which accompanies and formally asks for the writ to be issued by the court officer.
  • Praemunire definition: An offence initially to prefer the Pope or his authority as against the King of England or Parliament, but later included a wide assortment of offenses against the King and always leading to serious penalties.
  • Precarium definition: the giving of land as a reward or to secure a debt.
  • Prima Facie definition: A legal presumption which means on the face of it or at first sight.
  • Pro Bono definition: for the good.
  • Pro Forma definition: for the sake of form.
  • Pro jure patrio stamus definition: we will defend our rights.
  • Pro Possessore definition: a person who holds something only as possessor, not necessarily as owner.
  • Pro Possessore Habetur Qui Dolo Injuriave definition: he whose possession is taken away by fraud or injury will be deemed to continue to possess.
  • Pro Rata definition: to divide proportionate to a certain rate or interest.
  • Pro Se definition: on one’s own behalf.
  • Pro Socio definition: on behalf of a partnership.
  • Pro Tempore definition: something done temporarily only and not intended to be permanent.
  • Proprio Motu definition: of one’s own initiative.
  • Quaere definition: Latin for “query” as in an issue on which some doubt or question exists.
  • Quaestiones perpetuae meaning: permanent criminal courts, each dealing with one class of offense (Roman law). The basic system was established by a series of laws under Sulla’s dictatorship in 81 B (Roman law).C (Roman law).
  • Quaestor definition: In ancient Roman law, senior legal advisor.
  • Quam legem exteri nobis posuere, eandem illis ponemus definition: What law is imposed by foreign powers on our merchants, we will impose on their’s.
  • Quando Jus Domini Regis Et Subditi Concurrunt, Jus Regis Praeferri Debet definition: When the right of the sovereign and that of a subject conflict, the right of the sovereign is to be preferred.
  • Quantum definition: amount or extent.
  • Quantum Meruit definition: as much as is deserved.
  • Qui Facit Per Alium Facit Per Se definition: he who acts through another, acts himself.
  • Qui Jure Suo Utitur Neminem Facit Injuriam definition: he who exercises his legal rights harms no one.
  • Qui Jussu Judicis Aliquod Fecerit, Non Videtur Dolo Malo Fecisse, Quia Parere Necesse Est definition: One who does a wrongful act by order of a Court having jurisdiction, is not liable in tort, because he must obey the law.
  • Qui Non Obstat Quod Obstare Potest, Facere Videtur definition: an individual who does not prevent something which he/she could of prevented, is taken to have done that thing.
  • Qui Prior Est Tempore, Potior Est Jure definition: he who is earlier in time is stronger in law.
  • Qui Tam definition: who as well.
  • Quia Emptores definition: A 1290 English statute that held that notwithstanding the subdivision (subinfeudation) of a feeholding; the new tenant owed feudal rights and obligations not to the seller but to the Land Lord.
  • Quicquid Plantatur Solo, Solo Cedit definition: whatever is planted in the ground, belongs to the ground.
  • Quid Pro Quo definition: something for something.
  • Quo Warranto definition: legal procedure taken to stop a person or organization from doing something for which it may not have the legal authority, by demanding to know by what right they exercise the controversial authority.
  • Quod Ab Initio Non Valet In Tractu Temporis Non Convalesait definition: That which was originally void does not by lapse of time become valid.
  • Quod Remedio Destituitur Ipsa Re Valet, Si Culpa Absit definition: That which is without a remedy is valid by the thing itself, if there be no fault.
  • Quorum definition: The minimum number of voting members that must be in attendance at a meeting of an organization for that meeting to be regularly constituted.
  • Rapina definition: to take away forcefully.
  • Ratio Decidendi definition: reasons for a decision.
  • Ratione Loci definition: by reason of the place.
  • Ratione Personae definition: by reason of his person.
  • Ratione Soli definition: In relation to territory, land.
  • Rebus Sic Stantibus definition: changed circumstances.
  • Reddendum definition: that part of a lease which sets out the amount of rent and when it is payable.
  • Relegatio meaning: exile for a fixed period or in perpetuity, but without loss of citizenship of confiscation of property (Roman law).
  • Remanet definition: an action that has been put over, deferred to a later time.
  • Res Derelicta definition: a thing abandoned.
  • Res Gestae definition: things done.
  • Res Ipsa Loquitur definition: the thing speaks for itself.
  • Res Judicata definition: already subject to judicial determination.
  • Res mancipi meaning: property subject to transfer by mancipatio (i.e., land subject to Roman ownership, slaves, beasts of draft and burden, and rustic servitudes belonging to land subject to Roman ownership) (Roman law). All other property is res nec mancipi and can be transferred by mere traditio (Roman law).
  • Res Noviter Veniens Ad Notitiam definition: Fact(s) newly coming to knowledge.
  • Respondeat superior definition: let the principal answer.
  • Restitutio In Integrum definition: restitution to the original position.
  • Retraxit definition: a withdrawal of a legal action.
  • Rex Debet Esse Sub Lege, Quia Lex Facit Regem definition: The king should be subject to the law for the law makes the king.
  • Rex Non Potest Peccare definition: the king can do no wrong.
  • Rex Nunquam Moritur definition: the king never dies.
  • Salus Populi Est Suprema Lex definition: the welfare of an individual yields to that of the community.
  • Scaccarium definition: chess game but in English law, the exchequer, usually in reference to the Court of Exchequer.
  • Scienter definition: actual or guilty knowledge; knowingly.
  • Scintilla Juris definition: a spark of legal right.
  • Se Defendendo definition: self-defence.
  • Sic Utera Tuo Ut Alienam Non Laedas definition: use your property in such a fashion so as to not disturb others.
  • Sine Die definition: without a day. Taken to mean without fixing a day for continuation.
  • Sine Qua Non definition: without which, not.
  • Situs definition: location.
  • Stare Decisis definition: stay with what has been decided.
  • Statuta Suo Clauduntur Territorio, Nec Ultra Territorium Disponunt definition: Statutes are confined to their own territory and have no extra-territorial effect.
  • Statutes in Pari Materia definition: Statutes sharing a common purpose or relating to the same subject and which are construed together.
  • Stipulatio meaning: an enforceable verbal contract created by simple question (“Do you promise to pay me 10,000 sesterces?”) and answer (“I promise.”). No witnesses or writing are required, but both were customary. The normal action on a stipulatio was a condictio (Roman law).
  • Strictissimi Juris definition: the strictest letter of the law.
  • Sub Judice definition: under judicial consideration.
  • Subpoena definition: an order of a court which requires a person to be present at a certain time and place or suffer a penalty (subpoena means, literally, under penalty).
  • Sui Generis definition: of its own kind.
  • Sui iuris meaning: a person who is not in the power of another (Roman law). A person is in another’s power (alieni iuris) if he or she is in manu, in mancipio, or in patria potestate (Roman law). All other persons are sui iuris and, if male, are patres familias (Roman law). Persons sui iuris who were impubes (under age 14 for boys, 12 for girls) were subject to a tutor, those who were minores (under age 25) were subject to a curator (Roman law).
  • Sui Juris definition: one’s own law; having full capacity.
  • Summa Ratio Est Quae Pro Religione Facit definition: The best rule is that which advances religion.
  • Tenendum definition: to be held. In law, that part of a contract in which an interest in real property is created that sets out the extent or limitations of that interest.
  • Tractatus de legibus et consuetudinibus regni Angliae definition: 1188 statement of English common law.
  • Traditio meaning: simple transfer of property, effective for acquiring ownership of all property except res mancipi (Roman law).
  • Transit In Rem Judicatam definition: The cause of action is changed into matter of record, which is of a higher nature, and the inferior remedy is merged in the higher.
  • Tutor meaning: guardian for independent children under the age of puberty (impubes) and for independent women of any age (Roman law).
  • Uberrimae Fidei definition: of the utmost good faith.
  • Ubi Eadem Ratio, Ibi Idem Jus definition: Where there is the same reason, there is the same law
  • Ubi Jus Ibi Remedium definition: For every wrong, the law provides a remedy.
  • Ubi scelus est id, quod non prosicit scire, jubemus (insurgere) leges, armari jura gladio ultore, ut exquisitis poenis subdantur infames, qui sunt, vel qui futuri sunt rei definition: Where that infamy exists,which ought not to be known, we commend the laws to be enforced and the authorities be armed with the avenging sword, that those infamous wretches may be overwhelmed with the severest punishment, who are, or shall be guilty of this crime.
  • Ultra Petita definition: beyond that which is sought.
  • Ultra Vires definition: beyond the powers.
  • Use definition: trust.
  • Usucapio meaning: acquisition of ownership by long usage (Roman law).
  • Usufruct definition: The rights to the product of another’s property.
  • Usufructus meaning: the right to use of the property of another and take its fruits or profit (fructus) without diminishing its capital value (Roman law).
  • Usury definition: Excessive or illegal interest rate.
  • Usus meaning: the right to use the property of another without taking its fruits or profits (Roman law). Also, a formless acquisition of marital power (manus) over the wife through an uninterrputed cohabitation for one year with the intention of living as husband and wife (Roman law).
  • Ut Res Magis Valeat Quam Pereat definition: It is better for a thing to have effect than to be made void.
  • Utile Per Inutile Non Vitiatur definition: That which is useful is not vitiated by that which is useless.
  • Vacatur definition: to set aside a judgment.
  • Valeat Quantum Valere Potest definition: it shall have effect as far as it can have effect.
  • Vana Est Illa Potentia Quae Nunquam Venit In Actum definition: power is vain if never put into action.
  • Venditio Bonorum definition: sale of goods.
  • Venditio definition: a sale.
  • Verba Fata definition: faded, obsolete words.
  • Verba Fortius Accipiuntur Contra Proferentem definition: a contract is interpreted against the person who wrote it.
  • Videlicet definition: to wit or that is to say.
  • Vigilantibus Et Non Dormientibus Jura Subveniunt definition: the law assists those that are vigilant with their rights, and not those that sleep thereupon.
  • Vinculum Juris definition: a legal bound.
  • Vindicatio meaning: an action for claiming ownership of property (Roman law).
  • Vir definition: man or husband.
  • Viva Voce definition: by voice.
  • Viz definition: to wit, that is to say.
  • Volenti Non Fit Injuria definition: to one who is willing, no harm is done.