Legal Maxims


Money refused releases the person paying (or offering payment).

No one can forfeit another’s right.

The construction of the law does not work an injury.

No one can give that which he does not have.

No one is bound to arm his adversary against himself.

Every person’s house should be his safest refuge.

No one can be taken by force from his own house.

That is necessary which cannot be otherwise.

Necessity defends what it compels.

Laws are silent amid arms.

The laws permit taking up arms against the armed.

Necessity makes lawful what otherwise is unlawful.

An act done by me against my will, is not my act.

No guilt attaches to a person who is compelled to obey.

A person is free of blame who knows but cannot prevent.

The union of husband and wife derives from the law of nature.

Consent, not coition, constitutes marriage.

The person who owns the soil owns up to the sky.

Gross negligence is equivalent to fraud.

A person who exercises his own rights injures no one.

No one should lose his property without his own act or negligence.

No one ought to be burdened in consequence of another’s act.

No one is bound to expose himself to misfortune and dangers.

It is not incumbent on the possessor of property to prove that his possessions belong to him.

It is unjust for freeborn individuals not to have the free disposal of their own property.


The Law/Definitions

Liberty is the natural power of doing whatever one pleases, except what is prevented by law or force.

Everything that the law does not forbid is permitted.

The law does not compel the impossible.

The law never allows anything contrary to truth.

A custom, even if it is of great authority, is never prejudicial to plain truth.

Let one who wishes to be deceived be deceived.

The law will always give a remedy.

The law always intends what is agreeable to reason.

Obvious facts are not in need of proof.

A double negative is an affirmative.

All men are equal as far as natural law is concerned.

Man is a term of nature.  Person is a term of civil law.

Enemies are those upon whom we declare war, or who declare it against us; all others are traitors or pirates.



All presumptions are in favor of life, liberty, and innocence.

A presumption will stand until proof is given to the contrary.

A privilege or benefit is not granted against a person’s will.

No one is obliged to accept a benefit against his consent.

No one is presumed to be forgetful of his eternal welfare, especially at the point of death.

No one acts against himself.

Ignorance of the law (within jurisdiction) does not excuse.

A party who is silent appears to consent.

Long sufferance is construed as consent.

An error that is not resisted is approved.

A person who acts through another acts himself.

A person who does not deny, admits.

A person who does not repel an injury when he can brings it on.

A person who knowingly pays what he does not owe is presumed to give.

It is immaterial whether a person gives assent by words or by acts and deeds.



Let the buyer beware.

When in doubt, do not do it.

The person who has the benefit has also the burden.

It is a fault for anyone to meddle in a matter not pertaining to him.

Time runs against the slothful and those who neglect their rights.



The intention of the party is the soul of the instrument. 

Good faith demands that what is agreed upon shall be done.

A contract constitutes law between the parties agreeing to be bound by it.

Consent makes law.

No action arises on a contract without a consideration.

In all contracts, whether express or implied, there must be something given in exchange.

An obligation without consideration, or upon a false consideration, or upon unlawful considerations, cannot have any effect.

A contract founded on a wrongful consideration is null.



It is a miserable state of things where the law is vague and uncertain.

The designation of one is the exclusion of the other; and what is expressed prevails over what is implied.

Specification of one thing is an exclusion of the other.

A law is not binding unless it has been promulgated.

Every jurisdiction has its boundaries.

Statutes are confined to their own territory and have no extraterritorial effect.

A power should be strictly interpreted.

Power that is derived cannot be greater than that from which it is derived.

Power is not conferred but for the (public) good.



No one goes to trial without an action, and no one can bring an action without a writ or bill.

A judicial writ does not fail for a defect of form.

The burden of proof lies upon he who affirms, not upon he who denies.

If the plaintiff does not prove his case, the defendant is acquitted.

No one can be compelled to incriminate (be a witness against) himself.

An act does not make a person guilty unless the mind is guilty.

Let the punishment be equal to the crime.

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