I have already warned in previous comments about the ambiguities associated with the use of legal Latin in contract documents and tried to highlight the dangers resulting from its adaptation to the peculiarities of various jurisdictions. Nevertheless, there is a certain attraction that remains for lawyers in the use of a traditional legal “secretive” language. We should be using “plain English” but for the incorrigible amongst you, here is a list of some of my legal Latin favourites from law school:
Affidavit: he has sworn or stated on oath. A written statement on oath for use in court proceedings.
Bona fide: in good faith.
Caveat emptor: let the buyer beware. A general duty to inspect goods for obvious defects before buying them.
Locus sigilli: the place of the seal. Still used by way of the letters “l.s.” in deeds in some jurisdictions (surrounded by a magic circle) to indicate the application of a signatory’s seal.
LLB: Legum Baccalaureus. Bachelor of laws university degree
Mutatis mutandis: things having been changed which needed to be changed. Amendments may need to be made as necessary or applicable.
Ejusdem generis: of the same type. A common law rule of interpretation whereby a specific description or list of examples will limit the understanding of a general type or genus.
Testator: one who makes a will. A common term for the deceased in the law of succcession.
Volenti non fit injuria: to a willing person no wrong can be done. Limited defence available in some torts claims whereby the injured party knew of (or must have known of) the risk and thereby cannot claim.
Nemo dat quod non habet: you cannot pass on a better title than you actually have. General principle of property law which is subject (as is always the case) to exceptions. In other words, “you cannot sell it if you don’t own it.”