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PEPT: Meaning of Latin Terms Use In Court

Inibong, Esq., said in case some of the legal terms were used today at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT), which sees to the hearing and questioning of legitimacy of election that led to the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) declaration of President Bola Tinubu in the 2023 election.

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Latin and legal maxims play a significant role in the field of law, often serving as concise expressions of legal principles and concepts. Terms like, “Habeas Corpus” – Latin for “you shall have the body,” which means that individuals have the right to challenge their unlawful detention. And “Res Ipsa Loquitur” – Latin for “the thing speaks for itself,” also means when the facts of a case are so clear that negligence is implied.

 

Other typical examples are, “Actus Reus” and “Mens Rea” – Latin for “guilty act” and “guilty mind,” respectively. “In Loco Parentis” – Latin for “in the place of a parent.”

 

Also, “Res Judicata” – Latin for “a thing judged,” “Stare Decisis” – Latin for “to stand by things decided.” “Caveat Emptor” – Latin for “let the buyer beware.”, “Nolo Contendere” – Latin for “I do not wish to contend.” “Quid Pro Quo” – Latin for “something for something.”

PEPT: Meaning of Latin Terms Use In Court

But to a layman who knows nothing about the court, these latina legal terms can be too ambiguous and incomprehensible, a Nigerian Business Lawyer, Inibong Irene, wrote on her Facebook page.

 

Inibong, Esq., said in case some of the legal terms were used today at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT), which sees to the hearing and questioning of legitimacy of election that led to the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) declaration of President Bola Tinubu in the 2023 election.

 

This was coming after some C and Facebook users wrote that most of the legal terms are incomprehensible.

 

“While you listen to the Judgement of the Honourable court, here are some latinic maxims you need to know incase a few of them are used today. I can’t be your lawyer and you will be lost naa,” Inibong Irene, Esq., said.

 

“I arranged them alphabetically:

 

  1. A fortiori- With even stronger reason
  2. Ab initio – From the beginning
  3. Ad idem – Of the same mind
  4. Amicus curiae – A friend of the Court
  5. Audi alteram partem – Hear the other side
  6. Caveat emptor- Let the purchaser beware
  7. Consensus ad idem- Agreement as to the same things
  8. Corpus- Body
  9. Corrigenda- A list of things to be rectified
  10. De novo – To make something anew.
  11. Dictum – Statement of law made by judge in the course of the decision but not necessary to the decision itself.
  12. Estoppel – Prevented from denying.
  13. Ex gratia – As favour.
  14. Ex officio – Because of an office held.
  15. Ex parte – Proceedings in the absence of the other party.
  16. Ex post facto – Out of the aftermath, or After the fact.
  17. Functus officio – No longer having power or jurisdiction
  18. Ignorantia juris non excusat – Ignorance of the law excuses not or Ignorance of the law excuses no one. In other words, A person who is unaware of a law may not escape liability for violating that law merely because one was unaware of its content.
  19. Habeas corpus – A writ to have the body of a person to be brought in before the judge
  20. Ipso facto – By the mere fact.
  21. In promptu – In readiness.
  22. In lieu of – Instead of.
  23. In personam – A proceeding in which relief I sought against a specific person.
  24. Innuendo – Spoken words which are defamatory because they have a double meaning.
  25. In status quo – In the present state.
  26. Inter alia – Among other things.
  27. Inter vivos – Between living people. (especially of a gift as opposed to a legacy)
  28. Locus standi – Right of a party to an action to appear and be heard by the court
  29. Mens rea – Guilty mind.
  30. Misnomer – A wrong or inaccurate name or term.
  31. Modus operandi – Way of working.
  32. Modus Vivendi – Way of living.
  33. Mutatis Mutandis – With the necessary changes having been made, or with the respective differences having been considered.
  34. Mala fide – In bad faith
  35. Obiter dictum – Things said by the way. It is generally used in law to refer to an opinion or non-necessary remark made by a judge. It does not act as a precedent.
  36. Nemo judex in sua causa – Nobody can be judge in his own case.
  37. Per curiam (decision or opinion) – By the court. In other words, The decision is made by the court (or at least, a majority of the court) acting collectively.
  38. Per se – By itself.
  39. Prima facie – At first sight.
  40. Ratio decidendi – Principle or reason underlying a court judgement. or The rule of law on which a judicial decision is based
  41. Res ipsa loquitor – The thing speaks for itself.
  42. Res Judicata – A matter already judged.
  43. Quid pro quo – Something for something.
  44. Status quo – State of things as they are now.
  45. Sine die – With no day (indefinitely).
  46. Sine qua non – “without which nothing”. An essential condition.
  47. Suo Motu – On its own motion
  48. Uberrima fides (sometimes uberrimae fidei) – Utmost good faith.
  49. Ubi jus ibi remedium – Where there is a right, there is a remedy.
  50. Volenti non fit injuria – Damage suffered by consent gives no cause of action
  51. Vox populi – Voice of the people. or The opinion of the majority of the people
  52. Waiver – Voluntarily giving up or removing the conditions.

“Please give me my flowers,” she added.

 

Read Also: Barrister Incorrect, How Should You Address Your Lawyer?

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