As law students, we come across various legal maxims, even more so when we come across various legal drafts. In this article, we will introduce you to some common legal maxims that every law student and becoming should know.
Ubi Jus Ibi Remedium
Ubi Jus Ibi Remedium is a Latin term that literally means “where there is a wrong, there is a remedy” or “where there is a right, there is a remedy”. The word ‘Jus’ means the legal authority to do or demand something, and ‘remedium’ means the right of action in a Court of law. To explain it to you in simpler terms, it means to say that for every right an individual possesses, he also possesses a remedy. example, if you have been wronged, there is a remedy for that too!
For example, “A” negotiates a contract with B’s company to sell him 20 washing machines within a week, but due to negligence, or unforeseen circumstances, A could not fulfil the terms of the contract. B can now sue him for damages, breach of contract and any other additional loss. “B” not only has the right to sue but also a remedy provided to him under contract law. The circuit court of appeals of the United States of America in the case of Leo feist v. Young observed that “it is an elementary maxim of the equity of jurisprudence and there is no wrong without a remedy”.
“Justice Pollock said that right and wrong are contrary to each other. Right actions are those which are prescribed by moral rules, wrong actions are those which are not prescribed by moral rules, or which are prohibited by law. In the case of legal action, anything which is wrong is not recognized by laws. It is presumed that whenever a wrong is committed it means that legal duties have been omitted. Hence the existence of duty involves a right then it also provides the possibility of wrong. Duty, right and wrong are not separate but they are the different legal aspects of the same rules and events.”
Injuria Sine Damnum & Damnum Sine Injuria
You will come across the terms “Injuria Sine Damnum” and “Damnum Sine Injuria” usually under the law of torts. Although the words are merely interchanged, both are different concepts and are often confused. The word “Injuria” means injury, “Sine” means without and “Damnum” means damages. Thus, the maxim Injuria Sine Damnum means the legal injury caused to the plaintiff without any physical damage or injury, meaning a situation where no damage has been caused by a particular act, but that act violated the legal right of another. Here, physical damage or actual loss means loss or damage in terms of health, money, etc., therefore, the plaintiff will be compensated if his legal rights are violated even though there is no actual damage/loss suffered.
In the case of Ashby vs. White, “the plaintiff was a qualified voter in a parliamentary election, and the defendant, a returning officer in the election. The defendant wrongfully refused to accept the plaintiff’s vote. Although the plaintiff suffered no financial loss, as a result of the defendant’s wrongful act of allowing the candidate for whom he wishes to vote in the election, the plaintiff’s legal rights were violated, and thus the defendant was held liable.”
Damnum Sine Injuria is merely the opposite of Injuria Sine Damnum, which means damage without injury. Since no legal right was infringed, no one will get sued for the same. It is an implied principle in law that there are no remedies for any moral wrongs, unless and until any legal right has been infringed. Even if the act or omission done by the defendant was intentional, the Court will not grant any damages to the plaintiff.
In the Gloucester Grammar School case, “the defendant was a teacher in the plaintiff’s school who had, following a brawl left his services and established another school in the neighbourhood. Owing to the popularity of the teacher, many students followed suit and joined his rival school. As a result, the plaintiff suffered monetary losses and a suit for indemnification was filed in a court of law. The question of law before the said court was whether the defendant could be held liable under ‘Damnum sine Injuria’. It was held by the court that no compensation could be awarded, and that the defendant was well within his legal right to establish a school and the said act did not violate any rights of the plaintiff. The monetary losses arising from the act of the defendant could not qualify as a violation of legal right.”
Volenti Non Fit Injuria
Another Latin maxim says that if one voluntarily puts themselves knowingly in a dangerous situation, they cannot later complain or sue for damages. For example, Ross decides to go to a hockey stadium to watch a hockey match with his friends Joey and Chandler. During the match, one of the players swings the puck so quickly and abruptly that the hockey puck directly hits Ross’s nose because of which he is immediately rushed to a nearby hospital. Ross sues the stadium for medical damages. Can he do so? No.
Here is the explanation:
Ross cannot hold either the player or the owner of the stadium liable because it is understood and implied consent has been given by him by merely purchasing the ticket and sitting in the stadium and thus despite no express consent, the defence of volenti non-fit injuria will apply here and his consent will be deemed to be implied for such injury. “Volenti non fit injuria is Latin for “to a willing person, it is not wrong.” This legal maxim holds that a person who knowingly and voluntarily risks danger cannot recover for any resulting injury. This principle was the common-law basis for the assumption of the risk doctrine.”
In the United States legal system, this legal maxim is similar in the form of the legal principle called the “Assumption of risk”.
In Canada, the “volentio” principles apply in much the same way as under English law. In the case of Dube v. Labar, “A” in a car driven by “B” was injured when it turned around. Both A and B had been drinking the night before and on the day of the accident. In the middle of the drive, B could not start the engine of the car becasse of which A took over and also asserted the fact to B that he was infact capable of driving. A took over as driver when B could not start the car after stopping to pick up two hitchhikers. A also asserted the fact that he was capable of driving. The accident occurred shortly thereafter. The car veered as A turned to speak to a hitchhiker in the back seat. The case was dismissed.
Vis Major (Act of God)
As the name suggests, the Latin maxim means exactly that. If you have seen movies like “The Man Who Sued God” or “Oh My God!” (a Bollywood remake of the same movie), you should have some basic interpretation of what this maxim is all about. Vis major is a Latin term that means “superior force” and describes an irresistible natural occurrence that causes damage or disruption and that is neither caused by nor preventable by humans—even when exercising the utmost skill, care, diligence, or prudence.
A prominent case to note on the same is Blyth v. Birmingham Water Works Co. “The defendant, in this case, had constructed very strong water pipes which could brave severe frost in winter. However, the pipes in the plaintiff’s property burst causing damage due to an unprecedented frost season. In this situation, the defendants were absolved of any liability since the extreme weather was attributable to an “Act of God”.”[15
 What is the meaning of the phrase 'ubi jus ibi remedium'? (toppr.com)  Arya Mishra, May 22nd, 2019, Retrieved from: Ubi jus ibi remedium: where there is a right, there is a remedy (ipleaders.in) 9th August, 2023.  Ibid.  By Soubhratra, Retrieved from: Damnum Sine Injuria/ Injuria Sine Damnum (legalserviceindia.com), 9th August 9, 2023.  The maxim 'injuria sine damnum' has been explained in . (toppr.com)  PRINCIPLE OF DAMNUM SINE INJURIA AND INJURIA SINE DAMNUM (ilms.academy)  Kunal Jain, February 21, 2020, Retrieved from: Damnum Sine injuria & Injuria Sine Damnum: All you must know (ipleaders.in).  Krati Gupta, Retrieved from: Explained: Damnum sine injuria and Injuria sine damnum - LexForti  Adarsh Singh Thakur, April 22nd, 2019. Retrieved from: Volenti Non Fit Injuria (ipleaders.in)  volenti non fit injuria | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (cornell.edu)  Volenti non fit injuria - Wikipedia  Dube v. Labar, (1986), 1 SCR649  Dube v. Labar, (1986), 1 SCR649, Dube v. Labar - SCC Cases (lexum.com)  Vis Major: What it is, How it Works, Exceptions (investopedia.com)  Know All About Vis Major (Act of God) (lawctopus.com)