Most lawyers love to throw around Latin phrases. The reason for this is that ancient Rome's legal system has had a strong influence on the legal systems of most western countries. The Roman motto was divide et impera dee- vee -deh eht im -peh-rah — "divide and conquer. Their goal was to teach them how to think, act, and be like real Romans. As the Roman Empire slowly crumbled and disappeared, the new orders in all these lands gradually adapted the existing legal system. England and most of its former colonies and the United States of America use a variation of the old Roman law called "Common Law. Well, that and the fact that you can't get out of law school without mastering them. This article gives you the information that you need to make sense of what your lawyer, judge, or parole officer is saying.
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A legal maxim is an established principle or proposition of law , and a species of aphorism and general maxim. The word is apparently a variant of the Latin maxima , but this latter word is not found in extant texts of Roman law with any denotation exactly analogous to that of a legal maxim in the Medieval or modern definition, but the treatises of many of the Roman jurists on regular definitiones and sententiae iuris are to some degree collections of maxims. Most of the Latin maxims originate from the Medieval era in European states that used Latin as their legal language. The attitude of early English commentators towards the maximal of the law was one of unmingled adulation. In Thomas Hobbes , Doctor and Student p. Not only, observes Francis Bacon in the Preface to his Collection of Maxims , will the use of maxims be in deciding doubt and helping soundness of judgment, but, further, in gracing argument, in correcting unprofitable subtlety, and reducing the same to a more sound and substantial sense of law, in reclaiming vulgar errors, and, generally, in the amendment in some measure of the very nature and complexion of the whole law.
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First, he would quote God's Law, and after quoting God's Law He would often quote the accuser's law and use that against them as well. For example, Jesus would say, "Did ye never read in the scriptures Then he would turn around and say, "Is it not written in your law His accusers would have no answer, they could not overcome Him. How could anyone overcome somebody who is obeying both God's Law and man's law!?
Legal maxim , a broad proposition usually stated in a fixed Latin form , a number of which have been used by lawyers since the 17th century or earlier. Some of them can be traced to early Roman law. Much more general in scope than ordinary rules of law, legal maxims commonly formulate a legal policy or ideal that judges are supposed to consider in deciding cases. Maxims do not normally have the dogmatic authority of statutes and are usually not considered to be law except to the extent of their application in adjudicated cases. But a law established for a public reason cannot be contravened by a private agreement. Thus, an actor who becomes ill is excused from performing even though his contract does not so state. With the expansion of commerce and industry in the 16th and 17th centuries, English courts were called upon to decide many novel cases for which the rules of medieval common law provided little or no guidance, and judges felt the need for broad, authoritative principles to support their decisions. The English lawyer and philosopher Francis Bacon — composed a collection of maxims of the common law in Latin with an elaborate English commentary on each; and the writings of the English jurist Sir Edward Coke — were replete with similar Latin aphorisms , some borrowed from Roman law, others invented.