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ACCUSARE NEMO SE DEBET [NISI CORAM DEO]: NO ONE OUGHT TO ACCUSE HIMSELF

[EXCEPT TO GOD].

Also called the right against self-incrimination.


Similar to Nemo tenetur seipsum accusare.
An accused is fully entitled to plead not guilty whatever the facts may be.
A witness may refuse to answer questions on the ground that a reply might incriminate
him.
A confession is not admissible unless it is made freely and voluntarily. It must not be
induced through promise or threat.
See R v Lagos, Miranda v Arizona and Mapp v Ohio.

ACTA EXTERIORA INDICANT SECRETA INTERIORA: THE OUTWARD ACTS SHOW THE
SECRET INTENTIONS.

This involves the ascertainment of someones subjective interest/purpose motivating


his/her actions, by considering what the immediate, proximate and reasonably to be
anticipated consequences of such actions are and to reason that the person intends to
accomplish them.
Facta non verba actions speak louder than voice.

ACTIO PERSONALIS MORITUR CUM PERSONA: ANY RIGHT OF ACTION DIES WITH THE
PERSON.

It applies to actions in form of ex delicto. Delict meaning wrong/injury done to someone.


It is a common law rule which states that if an injury were done either to the person or to
the property of another for which damages only could be recovered in satisfaction, the
action died with the person to whom or by whom the wrong was done.
In case of injury to the person, if either party dies, no action can be supported either by or
against the executors or other representatives.
Thus, going by this maxim, it would be better for a motorist to kill rather than merely injure
a pedestrian who is unemployed, unmarried, childless and an orphan.
The relevance of this principle has been substantially removed by statutes which allow a
deceaseds estate to pursue the litigation.
It does not apply to personal action founded on contract.
It now seems to be generally confined to defamation.
See Phillip v Homfray, Ayodele v Ore and Kareem v Wema Bank Ltd.

ACTORE NON PROBANTE, ABSOLVITUR REUS: AN ACTION NOT PROVED, ABSOLVES THE
GUILTY.

When the plaintiff/prosecution does not prove his case, judgment is for the
defendant/accused.
The same principle applies to an appellant if the judges are equally divided in their
decisions.
See Famuroti v Agbeke and Awomuti v Salami.

ACTUS DEI NEMINI FACIT INJURIAM: AN ACT OF GOD CAUSES LEGAL INJURY TO NO ONE.

The law holds no man responsible for the act of God ~Herbert Broom.
The loss from an injury caused thereby must be borne by the victim.
It refers to an injury, inevitable as a result of an act of God, which no industry can avoid or
policy prevent.
Supposing a storm causes Mr As car to land on, thereby damaging Mr Bs house, Mr B
cannot claim damages from Mr A.
See Omotayo v Arbuckie Smith & Co. Ltd.

ACTUS NON FACIT REUM, NISI MENS SIT REA: AN ACT DOES NOT MAKE GUILT, UNLESS
THE MIND BE GUILTY.

The intent and the act must both concur to constitute a crime.
Similar to Nemo cogitationis poenam patitur: No one shall be punished for his thoughts
alone.
The existence of a criminal mind may be negated with the defences of: *Mistake *Accident
*Compulsion *Consent *Claim of right.
A lunatic may however be found guilty of crime, but will not be executed and only kept in
custody for lack of real intent [i.e. mens rea].
See R v Nasamu, Sweet v Parsely and The State v Adelenwa.

AFFIDAVIT: HE SWORE.

Or FOR HE HAS DECLARED UPON OATH.


A written sworn statement of fact voluntarily made by an affiant or deponent under an
oath/affirmation administered by an authorised person.
Witnessed by a solicitor or a commissioner of oaths.
It may not be admissible as evidence; must be backed up.
The content should be only within the knowledge of the affiant.
If discovered false, with the intent to deceive; may lead to a charge of perjury.

ARMA IN ARMATOS SUMERE JURA SINUNT: THE LAW PERMITS THE TAKING UP OF ARMS
AGAINST THE ARMED.

The use of arms is only lawful if it is necessary as a form of self-defence, to prevent or


repel the commission of a forcible entry or an atrocious crime.
See Nwuguru v The State, R v Igwe and The Queen v Jinobu.
AUDI ALTERAM PARTEM: HEAR THE OTHER SIDE.

First enacted in the Magna Carta, 1215.


Similar to AUDITUR ET ALTERA PARS.
No person shall be condemned, punished or have any property or legal right compromised
by a law court without being heard.
It includes habeas corpus, right to receive notice of hearing and to be given an opportunity
to be represented or heard.
It is a principle of fair-hearing; that both party shall respond to the evidence against them.
It is considered a principle of fundamental justice or equity.
The ancient Greek dramatists considered hear both sides as part of common wisdom.
Today, legal systems differ on whether a person can be convicted in absentia.
Even God, it is said, allowed Adam to make his defence before passing judgment.
See King v Chancellor, Cooper v Wandsworth Board of Works, Fawehinmi v LPD
committee per Kayode Eso JSC, R v Chancellor of Cambridge Univerisity, Adedeji v
Public Service Commission, Akande v The state, adeigun v A.G. Oyo state and
Udemah v Nig. Coal Corp.
COMMODUM EX INJURIA SUA, NEMO HABERE DEBET: OUT OF HIS OWN WRONG, NO ONE
OUGHT TO HAVE ADVANTAGE.

Mostly applied in insurance cases whereby the assured inflicts injury on himself, spouse
or property to make a fraudulent claim.
See Lek v Matthews and Cole v Accident Assurance Co. Ltd.

CORPUS DELICTI: BODY OF CRIME.

Plural: Corpora delicti.


A principle that a crime must have been proven to have occurred before a person can be
convicted of committing that crime.
It is the fact of a crime having been actually committed ~Blacks law dictionary.
Out-of-court confession of a defendant is insufficient as evidence.
An accused cannot be convicted solely upon an accomplices testimony.
If a person disappears and cannot be contacted, a missing person case is initiated. A
body of evidentiary items must be obtained to establish that the missing individual has
indeed been murdered.
Misinterpretation: in the case of British serial killer, John George Haigh, he destroyed the
bodies of his victims with acid thinking that in the absence of a corpse, murder could not
be proven.

DOMUS SUA CINQUE EST TUTISSIMUM REFUGIUM: A MANS HOUSE IS HIS SAFEST
RETREAT.
The house of everyone is to him a castle/fortress for his safety, and defence against injury
and violence.
A house includes a rented house.
In R v Hussay, the tenant was justified to have shot his landlord who tried to forcibly eject
him after a quit-notice.
See also The Queen v Eyo and R v Ebi.

EX PARTE: FOR ONE PARTY ONLY.

Or OUTSIDE THE AWARENESS OF A PARTY.


It refers to the proceedings where one of the parties has not received notice and, therefore
is neither present nor represented.
It is not ex parte, if a notice is received but the person chose not to attend.
However, some jurisdictions expand it to mean any proceeding that goes undefended.
One of the parties applies to the court and is awarded without the knowledge of the other
party who may be bound or affected by the proceeding/verdict.
Ex parte applications often seekcourt injunction.
It gives room for injustice.
It is not common in the adversarial system.
Urgency often leads to it.
The party present in court must/is expected to present the case fairly.
EX TURPI CAUSE NON ORITUR ACTIO: OUT OF A BASE/DISGRACEFUL/ILLEGAL CAUSE, AN
ACTION DOES NOT ARISE.

No polluted hand shall touch the pure foundation of justice.


He who comes to equity, must come with clean hands [a maxim of equity].
It means redress shall not be granted to persons involved in an illegal deal.
Illegality in an agreement renders it wholly void of legal effect.
See Canfailla v Chahin, Stevens v Gourley and Onyiuke v Okeke.

HABEAS CORPUS: MAY YOU HAVE THE BODY.

Habeas: 2nd person singular present subjunctive active of habere to have.


Corpus: accusative singular of corpus; plural is corpora.

Fully written as habeas corpus ad subjiciendum.


Also called the great writ.
It is a writ [legal action] that requires a person under arrest to be brought before a judge.
It ensures that a prisoner can be released from unlawful detention.
The remedy can be sought by the prisoner and anyone coming to his aid.
It is addressed to the prison custodian.
Others, aside the detainee, can write the petition because he might be held
incommunicado.
It may be suspended due to a national emergency.
Types: *Habeas corpus ad deliberandum et recipiendum.
*Habeas corpus ad faciendum et recipiendum (or cum causa).

*Habeas corpus ad prosequendum.

*Habeas corpus ad respondedum.

*Habeas corpus ad testificandum.

INTER ARMA, LEGES SILENT: IN THE MIDST OF ARMS, THE LAW IS SILENT.

First written by Cicero in his oration; Pro Milone, as Silent enim leges inter arma.
The laws will thusnot be silent in time of war, but they will speak with a somewhat
different voice ~ChiefJustice William Rehnquist.
The clatter of arms drowns out the voice of the law ~Henry David Thoreau.
It applies between different states, during civil disturbances or a coup dtat.

INTEREST REIPUBLICAE UT SIT FINIS LITIUM: IT CONCERNS THE STATE THAT THERE BE
AN END TO LAWSUITS.

Or IT IS FOR THE GENERAL WELFARE THAT A PERIOD BE PUT TO LITIGATION.


In effect, the law does not encourage prolonged litigation.
The wealthy might cause nuisance to the poor if litigation is not restricted.
Hence, the court expects the parties to come prepared and present their points of
differences as whole and not in bits.
See Ijale v Leventis Co. Ltd and Agu v Ikwibe.

JUDEX NON REDDIT PLUS QUAM QUOD POTENS IPSE REQUIRIT: A JUDGE DOES NOT GIVE
MORE THAN THAT WHICH THE PLAINTIFF ASKS.

If a plaintiff claims the sum of 10 as debt from the defendant, the judge cannot grant
more even if evidence reveals its actually 15.
See Khawam v Elias and Horizon Ltd v Wasurum.

JUDICIS EST IUS DICERE, NON DARE: THE JUDGE DECLARES (EXISTING) LAW, AND DOES
NOT MAKE NEW ONES.
Under our constitution, the court can only interpret legislations: See Section 4 of CFRN.
See Abioye v Yakubu.

LEX DILATIONES SEMPER EXHORRET: THE LAW ALWAYS ABHORS DELAYS.

Justice delayed is justice denied ~William Gladstone.


See Usikaro v Itsekiri [Land Trustee.]

LEX NON COGIT IMPOSSIBILIA: THE LAW DOES NOT COMPEL THE DOING OF
IMPOSSIBILITIES.

The law which is founded on good sense and reasoning cannot possibly direct that
impossible things be done.
See: nemo tenetur ad impossible

MANDAMUS: WE ORDER.

A judicial remedy or an order from a superior court to a subordinate court, corporation or


public authority to do or not to do some specific act which that body is obliged under law to
do or refrain from doing.
Types: *Alternative *Peremptory *Continuing.
Example: In December 2009, Falana, in a suit against the Attorney General, issued for a
writ of mandamus compelling Yaradua to transmit a written declaration to the Senate
President and speaker of House of Representatives empowering Jonathan as Acting
President [in line with Section 145 of CFRN].

NEMO DAT QUOD HABET: NO ONE GIVES WHAT HE DOES NOT HAVE.

Sometimes called the nemo dat rule.


It states that the purchase of a possession from someone who has no ownership right to it
also denies the purchaser any ownership right to it also denies the purchaser any
ownership title.
A person who is not the legitimate owner of an item cannot despatch it to another person.
Often stays valid even if the purchaser is not aware.
There are exceptions, though, which aim to give a degree of protection to bona fide
purchasers as well as original owners.
Section 27, Sale of Goods Act: anybody purchasing something without the consent of
the legitimate owner only attains the same rights to the item as the dishonest seller.
Section 26(1): a buyer from a non-owner obtains no better title than the seller.
Exceptions: *Mercantile agent *Sale by joint-owners *voidable contract *Sale by an
unpaid seller *Termination of offer *Quasi-contract.
NEMO DEBET BIS VIXARI PRO UNA ET ENDEM LITIUM: NO ONE OUGHT TO BE TWICE
VEXED (SUED) FOR ONE AND THE SAME CAUSE.

Similar toNEMO BIS PUNITUR PRO UNO (EODEM) DELICTO No one should be twice
punished for one wrong.
Similar to the principle of Res judicata; in civil matters.
It states that nobody should be twice sued or prosecuted upon one and the same set of
facts, if there has been a final decision of a competent court.
However, an abortive or premature trial can be retried [see Windson v R].
In Connelly v DPP, the defendant tricked the judge by sending a dozen bottles of
champagne with the compliment of the plaintiff, hence winning the case. If realised, the
case could be re-tried on the ground of a mistrial.

NEMO DEBET ESSE JUDIX IN PROPRIA CAUSA: NOBODY OUGHT TO BE A JUDGE IN HIS
OWN CAUSE.

This is a principle of natural law.


Popularly known as the rule against bias i.e. anything which tends a person to decide a
case other than on the basis of evidence.
It is based on the premise that it is against human psychology to decide a case against
himself.
It accords with the dictum of Lord Hewart C.J. in R v Sussex; Justice should not only be
done, but also manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.
A biased decision is a nullity and is coram non judice.
May also be expressed as: *Nemo judex idoneus in propria causa est *Nemo judexin
parte sua *Nemo judex in causa sua *In propria causa nemo judex.
The maxim crystallised in United Breweries Co. v Bath in which the Lord Chancellor (a
shareholder in the company) decided in favour of the canal company.
In Wright v Crump [1790], the Mayor of Hereford, England; claimed title to a local house,
arranged with a friend to lease it to him and then the friend brought a legal action for the
ejectment of the occupants Lord Mayor himself found for the claimant. Occupants
appealed to the court of Kings Bench and the Mayor was sentenced to a term of
imprisonment.
Exception [doctrine of necessity]: bias would not disqualify an officer if no other person is
competent to act in his place e.g. Speaker of a house in impeachment proceedings.

NOLLE PROSEQUI: UNWILLING TO PURSUE.

Or DO NOT PROSECUTE.
It is most often used in criminal cases.
It is called voluntary dismissal in civil cases.
Similar to it is declination of prosecution.
Its opposite is involuntary dismissal.
It is the prosecutors decision to voluntarily discontinue criminal charges either before trial
or fore a verdict is rendered.
Judges seldom challenge such declarations.
It is not a guaranteefor the impossibility of a later re-indictment and nor is it a protection
against double jeopardy as the merits of the case were not adjudicated.
Reasons: *Weak or insufficient evidence.
*Doubt as to the guilt of the defendant.

*Death of the accused.

PAR IN PAREM, NO HABET IMPERIUM: AN EQUAL POSSESSES NO POWER OVER AN EQUAL.

Also called the doctrine of immunity from suit.


This is a precept that a state cannot be sued in the courts of a foreign state, along-
standing rule of customary international law identified with the personalimmunity of a
foreign sovereign from suit.
It also applies to private individuals acting in their official capacity or representing their
state e.g. USA v Guinto.
But when the public official does act contrary to law and injurious to the plaintiff, he is
made accountable e.g. Shauf v Court of Appeals.

PLUS VALET UNUS OCCULATUS TESTIS, QUAM AURITI DECEM:ONE EYE WITNESS IS
STRONGER THAN TEN HEARSAYS.

Based on the principle that, at all times, justice must be manifestly seen to have been
done.
In law, hearsay evidence is the opposite of direct evidence.
Also, any evidence given in the absence of an accused is not admissible against him.
See R v Samuels and Onwocha v The state.

PRO BONO PUBLICO: FOR THE GOOD OF THE PUBLIC.

Done or undertaken for public good without any payment or compensation.


Necessitas publica major est quam privata: public necessity has priority over a private
need.
QUI NON IMPROBAT, APPROBAT: HE WHO DOES NOT DISAPPROVE, APPROVES.

Hence, a person in authority may be punished for covering a very serious crime known to
him/her.
In English law, MISPRISION is an offence which is to conceal a treason/felony.
See R v Aberg.

QUI PARCIT NOCENTIBUS INNOCENTES PUNIT: HE WHO SPARES THE GUILTY, PUNISHES
THE INNOCENT.

For instance, the letting off of a rapist amounts to an ironical/literary punishment of the
victim for her agony, violation of dignity and molestation.
However, the sentence of cautioned and discharged is deemed a conviction and cannot
be equated with sparing the guilty.

QUI PECAT EMBRIUS, LUAT SOBRIUS: HE WHO SINS WHEN DRUNK SHALL BE PUNISHED
WHEN SOBER.

even if a person drunk himself to the state of dementia effectum (self-imposed


madness), he will be punished for the crime after his sober moment; in common law i.e.
before 1920 [introduction of the concept of mens rea].
The present legal position is that voluntary drunkenness which deprives a person of
necessary mens rea cannot ground a criminal conviction.
If intent is coupled with violent passion, guilt is established as he is presumed to intend the
natural consequence of the act.

QUICQUID PLANTATUR SOLO, SOLO CEDIT: WHATEVER IS AFFIXED TO THE SOIL,


BECOMES PART OF IT.

In Onuwaje v Ogbeide, the plaintiff warned the defendant not to enter his land warning
that it is his. The defendant went ahead to erecta building on the real estate; and then the
plaintiff claimed title to it.
See also Atanda v Ajani and Tewogbade v Adeolu.

RES JUDICATA: MATTER ALREADY ADJUDGED.

Also called claim preclusion.


It is a legal doctrine meant to bar continued litigation between the same parties.
It may refer to a case which cannot be appealed because there has been a final judgment.
It cannot be raised whether in the same court or another.
Aims at preventing injustice and a waste of resources.
It prevents contradictory judgments and multiple recoveries of damages.
Requirements: *Identity in the thing at suit.
*Identity of the cause at suit.

*Identity of the parties to the action.

*Identity in the designation of the parties involved.

*Whether the judgment was final.

*Whether the parties were given fair-hearing.

It includes two related concepts: *claim preclusion *issue preclusion or collateral


estoppel.
It may be ignored if there is a deficiency in due process in the adjudged case.
See Agu v Ikewide, Iyayi v Eyiegbe and Odjevwaje v Echanokpe.

SUB POENA: UNDER PUNISHMENT.

A writ by a government agency (court) compelling testimony by a witness or production of


evidence under a penalty for failure.
The English term, witness summons is used in England and Wales.
John Waltham, Bishop of Salisbury, createdthe writ.
Subpoenas are usually issued by the clerk of the court in the presiding judges name.
Types: *Subpoena ad testificandum: orders a person to testify before court or face
punishment, in person or by phone.
*Subpoena doces tecum: orders a person to bring physical evidence before the court or face
punishment.

VOLENTI NON FIT INJURIA: THAT TO WHICH A MAN CONSENTS CANNOT BE CONSIDERED
AN INJURY.

Expressly or impliedly assenting to an act makes it not to be actionable as a tort.


In another sense, no one can enforce a legal right which he has voluntarily
waived/abandoned.
That party must have known of his legal rights and either by express language or sufficient
overt act, tells the other party that he is not insisting on it (or them).
See Herd v Weardale Co. and Oduas investment Co. Ltd v Talabi.
OTHERS!

CONSTITUTIO RESPICIT FUTURA ET NON PRAETERITA:.

CONSUETUDO EST OPTIMA LEGUM INTERPRES:.

DAMNUM SINE INJURIA ESSE POTEST:.

FRAUS EST CELARE FRAUDEM:.

FRAUS ET JUS NUMQUAM COHABITANT:.

IN CRIMINALIBUS, PROBATIONES DEBENT ESSE LUCE CLARIORES:.

JUSTITIAE DILATIO EST QUAEDAM NEGATIO:.

LEGES AB OMNIBUS, INTELLEGI DEBENT:.

LEGES EXPONERE, NON FERRE, DEBET JUDEX:.

LEX INJUSTA NON EST LEX:.

LEX NON SCRIPTA: NON-WRITTEN LAW.

LEX NON VALET EXTRA TERRITIORIUM:.

LEX SCRIPTA: WRITTEN LAW.

MORBUS EST IMPEDIMENTUM IN LEGE:.

NEMO EST HAERES VIVENTIS:.

NULLUM CRIMEN SINE POENA:.

NULLUM PONA SINE LEGE:.

NULLUM SIMILE EST IDEM: NOTHING SIMILAR IS THE SAME.

QUID AB INITIO NON VALET, IN TRACTU TEMPORIS, NON CONVALESCIT:.

VIM VI REPELLERE LICET: IT IS ALLOWED TO REPEL FORCE WITH FORCE.