08/06/16 Latinisms in Legal Documents

e-legal lesson

Examples of common Latinisms found in legal documents include, among many others, ad initio, ipso facto, mala fides, bona fide, mutatis mutandi, de facto, de jure, ex gratia, in personam, in rem, inter alia, pari passum pacta sunt servanda, prima facie, per diem, res judicata, sui generis, ultra vires.

Some Latinisms have become so ingrained that they can now be accepted as English – for example, pro rata, status quo, and vice versa. Your contracts would be clearer if you were to dispense with the rest, including those we mentioned as examples in the paragraph above. Instead, express the intended meaning in standard English.