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7 Legal Maxims Lawyers Use in Criminal Law And Their Meanings

Legal maxims are very important for lawyers. It not only gives them some sort of prestige in front of their clients, but it also helps them drive home their point when handling a matter in the court room. Listed below are some of the legal maxims lawyers make use of in criminal law.

1. Affirmanti non neganti incumbit probatio:

It means the burden of proof is incumbent on the one who affirms, not on the one who denies. In a criminal case, the burden of proving that the accused person committed an offence lies on the prosecution. Failure to prove so can result in the acquittal of an accused.

2. Actio non Facit Reum, nisi mens sit rea:

This means that an act does not make a person guilty unless the mind is guilty. To prove that an accused person committed an offence, the court will examine the facts of the case to see whether he/she had an intention to commit such crime.

3. Actore non probante, reus absolvitur:

If the plaintiff does not prove his case, the defendant is acquitted. Where there is no evidence from the prosecution to prove that the accused person committed an offence, it will result in an acquittal.

4. Affectio tua nomen imponit operi tuo:

Your motive gives a name to your act. The intention of a person to commit an offence is what eventually results to the physical commission of that particular offence.

5. Contrectatio rei alienae animo furandi est furtum:

Touching or taking another's property with an intention of stealing is theft. Where a person takes the property of another without an intention to steal, it will not be regarded as theft.

6. Crimen laesae majestalis omnia alia crimina excedit quoad poenam:

The crime of treason exceeds all other crimes in its punishment. This maxim supports the position of the law that treason is a capital offence, and the punishment for such an offender is death sentence.

7. Culpae poena par esto:

Let the punishment be equal to the crime. An offender should be punished in accordance with the offence he committed, and not more or less.


How many of these maxims do you know? Do ask any questions and drop your comments below.

Content created and supplied by: Busayomi (via Opera News )

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