Learning Legal Latin

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The legal and medical professions are riddled with Latin phrases.  And yes, this is done for the purpose of intentional obscurity. In other words, the professional fields are trying to keep the lay people away from their information. Fine. But one should not be intimidated by these Latin phrases. Below are a few noteworthy Latin legal phrases that everyone can grasp.

A Vinculo Matrimonii and a mensa et thoro

The former means “from the bond of matrimony” and latter means “bed and board.” These terms are typically applied when dealing with divorce.  A divorce A Vinculo Matrionii typically indicates a total divorce, and in the past, it has been associated with marriages that were never legal to begin with, exempli gratis (for the sake of example), a marriage involving polygamy. The latter deals with a separation in which the two parties can no longer live together, but may, if they choose, come together once again. 

Nemo bis punitur pro eodem delicto

Literally, “no one can be twice punished for the same offense.” This is essentially double jeopardy, the central concept of an excellent Tommy Lee movie cleverly titled, Double Jeopardy. Also worth noting is the first word “Nemo.” This word mean no one and it prefaces many important legal maxims. Also worth noting is how this Latin phrase applies to Disney movie Finding Nemo. Ubi jus ibi remedium es

This is one of the cornerstones of any judicial system: “where there is a right there is a remedy.” Indeed, the courts are commissioned with the task of handing out justice whether it be enacted through fiscal compensation or punishment. 

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