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“A priori” is a Latin phrase that means “from the earlier.” In legal context, it is used to refer to reasoning or knowledge that proceeds from theoretical deduction rather than from observation or experience. It’s the process of using an argument that is derived from a self-evident proposition, or something that an individual can know to be true without needing to experience it.
Lawyers use “a priori” arguments to establish general principles or rules that are universally accepted and do not require further evidence to prove their validity. They are used in legal reasoning and argumentation when lawyers need to set a theoretical framework or basis for their arguments.
For example, in a case involving a breach of contract, a lawyer might argue a priori that contracts are essential for maintaining trust and order in business transactions. This is a general principle that doesn’t require empirical evidence—it’s accepted as true without needing to be proven through observation or experience. The lawyer could then use this a priori argument as a foundation for their specific arguments about why their client’s breach of contract undermines trust and order.