Search this article on Google: ab absurdo
“Ab absurdo” is a Latin phrase that translates to “from the absurd” in English. It is a legal principle used to argue that because a particular position leads to a ridiculous or absurd conclusion, it must be incorrect. Lawyers often use this principle to demonstrate the illogical or absurd implications of an opponent’s argument, thereby undermining its validity.
For instance, consider a case where a defendant is accused of stealing a car. The defendant argues that he cannot be guilty because he was at home during the time the theft occurred. However, the prosecution presents evidence that the defendant’s home is only 5 minutes away from the scene of the crime. The defendant then argues that even if this is true, he cannot be guilty because he doesn’t know how to drive.
In response to this argument, the prosecution could use the principle of “ab absurdo” by stating: “The defendant’s argument leads to an absurd conclusion. If we were to accept that every person who doesn’t know how to drive is incapable of stealing a car, then no car would ever be stolen by a non-driver – an obvious absurdity given the evidence of car thefts committed by non-drivers. Therefore, the defendant’s argument must be flawed.”
In this way, the “ab absurdo” principle can be used to highlight the irrationality of an argument and strengthen one’s own position.
Search this article on Google: ab abusu ad usum non valet consequentia
“Ab abusu ad usum non valet consequentia” is a Latin legal maxim which translates to “from abuse to use, the consequence is not valid.” This principle suggests that the misuse or abuse of a right or privilege does not invalidate or negate the correct, lawful use of that same right or privilege.
Lawyers often use this maxim to argue that even if a law, rule, or right has been misused or abused in certain instances, it should not be completely discarded or deemed invalid because there are also instances where it is applied correctly and justly. It underscores the need for a nuanced approach in dealing with abuses of law or rights, rather than outright rejection or abolition.
For example, consider a situation where freedom of speech is being used to spread hate speech. A lawyer could argue, using this maxim, that while these individuals are indeed abusing their right to free speech, this does not mean the right to free speech itself is fundamentally flawed and should be eliminated. Instead, measures should be taken to prevent its misuse, while preserving the right for those who use it appropriately.
Search this article on Google: a priori
“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.
Search this article on Google: a posse ad esse
“A posse ad esse” is a Latin phrase that translates to “from possibility to actuality.” In legal context, this phrase is often used to describe the progression of a particular matter from being a mere possibility to becoming a reality. It is commonly used in discussions about evidence, potential outcomes of a case, or the feasibility of a legal argument.
For instance, a lawyer might use this phrase when discussing a hypothetical scenario with a client. If the client is potentially facing a lawsuit, the lawyer could say that the threat is currently “a posse ad esse” – it’s possible, but not yet a reality.
Alternatively, this phrase could be used in a court setting to describe the strength of evidence. For example, if a prosecutor has compelling evidence that could potentially prove the guilt of a defendant, they might argue that this evidence moves the case “a posse ad esse.” That is, it takes the scenario from being a mere possibility (that the defendant is guilty) to being an actuality (proven guilt).
Search this article on Google: a posteriori
“A posteriori” is a Latin phrase that translates to “from the latter.” In a legal context, it refers to reasoning or knowledge that is derived from empirical evidence or from experiences. This type of reasoning is based on actual facts, events, or observations and is often used to make inferences or predictions.
Lawyers use a posteriori reasoning to build their cases. They gather evidence, witness testimonies, and other factual information related to the case, and then use this data to make inferences, draw conclusions, and create a compelling narrative for their argument.
For example, in a negligence case, a lawyer might use a posteriori reasoning to prove that a manufacturer was responsible for a product defect that caused harm to their client. The lawyer would gather evidence of the defect (such as photographs, expert testimonies, etc.), as well as evidence of the harm caused to their client (such as medical reports). Based on this empirical evidence, they would argue that the manufacturer was negligent in their duty to ensure the safety of their product.
Search this article on Google: a pedibus usque ad caput
“A pedibus usque ad caput” is a Latin term which literally translates to “from feet to head.” In the legal context, this phrase is used to denote something that is comprehensive or covers all aspects completely. It underlines the importance of thoroughness and completeness in legal matters, including investigations, examinations, analyses, or documentations.
For example, in a criminal investigation, a lawyer might use the term to emphasize the necessity of a thorough and comprehensive investigation – “a pedibus usque ad caput” – to ensure that no evidence is overlooked and all aspects of the case have been examined. This could be crucial in building a robust case, whether it is for the defense or prosecution.
Search this article on Google: a mari usque ad mare
A mari usque ad mare is a Latin phrase that translates to from sea to sea in English. While it’s not typically used as a legal maxim in the same way as other Latin phrases, it has significant symbolic and historical relevance, particularly in Canada.
The phrase is used as the national motto of Canada, representing the breadth of the country’s lands from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. It is derived from Psalm 72:8 in the Bible, which reads: He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth (King James Version).
As such, it may come up in legal contexts relating to Canadian law or history. For instance, a lawyer might use this phrase when arguing a case related to federal jurisdiction or national unity.
For example, in a case involving a dispute between provinces over resource rights, a lawyer might invoke a mari usque ad mare to underscore the importance of maintaining a unified approach to resource management across Canada’s vast geographical expanse.
Search this article on Google: a contrario
A contrario is a Latin term that translates to from the opposite in English. It is a legal maxim used in legal reasoning and arguments to denote an inference or conclusion drawn from known, established, or admitted facts which are contrary or opposite to the case at hand. Essentially, it is used to argue that if a rule or principle applies in one situation, then it should not apply in an opposite or different situation.
For instance, a lawyer might use a contrario when arguing about a law that states that only people over the age of 18 can vote. If a case arises where a 17-year-old is suing for the right to vote, the lawyer might argue a contrario that since the law explicitly states that only individuals over 18 can vote, it implies that those under 18 are not allowed to vote.
In another example, if a law states that landlords must give tenants 30 days’ notice before eviction, and a landlord gives a tenant only 15 days’ notice, a lawyer could argue a contrario that the landlord’s action is unlawful because it directly contradicts the specified rule.
So, the a contrario argument is used to show that if the law has specifically stated one condition, the opposite condition does not apply unless explicitly stated in the law.
Search this article on Google: a fortiori
A fortiori is a Latin term used in legal parlance, which translates to with stronger reason or even more so. It is typically used in legal reasoning to denote that if one fact is certain then one can infer that a second fact is even more certain.
Lawyers use this method of reasoning to argue that if something applies in one situation, then it should apply even more so in another situation. It’s often used to make a point about the strength of a claim or argument.
For example, a lawyer might use an a fortiori argument in a case where a defendant is charged with both assault and jaywalking. If the evidence is sufficient to prove that the defendant committed assault (a more serious crime), then, a fortiori, it should be more than sufficient to prove that he was jaywalking (a less serious crime).
Search this article on Google: a capite ad calcem
A capite ad calcem is a Latin phrase that translates to from head to heel in English. In a legal context, this phrase is used to signify completeness or entirety. It suggests that everything within a particular scope or domain is included or covered.
Lawyers use this term when they want to emphasize the comprehensive nature of a certain legal document, procedure, or investigation. It can be used in a variety of legal contexts, such as contracts, property rights, criminal investigations, etc.
For example, consider a situation where a lawyer is drafting a contract for the sale of a piece of property. The lawyer might use the term a capite ad calcem to indicate that the contract covers all aspects of the property, from the physical structure to the land it sits on, and everything in between. This ensures that there are no ambiguities about what is being sold and protects both parties from future disputes.