Maxims of Law

Maxims of Law

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Accidents and Injury

  • An act of God does wrong to no one.
  • The act of God does no injury; that is, no one is responsible for inevitable accidents.
  • No one is held to answer for the effects of a superior force, or of an accident, unless his own fault has contributed.
  • The execution of law does no injury.
  • An action is not given to one who is not injured.
  • An action is not given to him who has received no damages.
  • He who suffers a damage by his own fault, has no right to complain.
  • Mistakes, neglect, or misconducts are not to be regarded as accidents.
  • Whoever pays by mistake what he does not owe, may recover it back; but he who pays, knowing he owes nothing; is presumed to give.
  • What one has paid knowing it not to be due, with the intention of recovering it back, he cannot recover back. [If the IRS accuses you of owing them money, if you want to go to court to dispute it, you must pay them in full what they demand and then sue them to get it back. Which places the burden of proof upon the accused rather than the accuser]
  • No man ought to be burdened in consequence of another’s act.
  • There may be damage or injury inflicted without any act of injustice.
  • Not every loss produces and injury.
  • A personal injury does not receive satisfaction from a future course of proceeding.
  • Wrong is wiped out by reconciliation.
  • An injury is extinguished by the forgiveness or reconcilement of the party injured. [Luke 17:3-4, 2 Corinthians 2:7-8]

Benefits and Privileges

  • Favors from government often carry with them an enhanced measure of regulation.
  • Any one may renounce a law introduced for his own benefit.
  • No one is obliged to accept a benefit against his consent.
  • He who receives the benefit should also bear the disadvantage.
  • He who derives a benefit from a thing, ought to feel the disadvantages attending it.
  • He who enjoys the benefit, ought also to bear the burden.
  • He who enjoys the advantage of a right takes the accompanying disadvantage.
  • A privilege is, as it were, a private law.
  • A privilege is a personal benefit and dies with the person.
  • One who avails himself of the benefits conferred by statute cannot deny its validity.
  • What I approve I do not reject. I cannot approve and reject at the same time. I cannot take the benefit of an instrument, and at the same time repudiate it.
  • He who does any benefit to another for me is considered as doing it to me.


  • Caveat emptor (let the buyer beware).
  • Let the purchaser beware.
  • Let the seller beware.
  • The payment of the price stands in the place of a sale.
  • The payment of the price of a thing is held as a purchase.
  • Goods are worth as much as they can be sold for.
  • Mere recommendation of an article does not bind the vendor of it.
  • It is settled that there is to be considered the home of each one of us where he may have his habitation and account-books, and where he has made an establishment of his business.
  • No rule of law protects a buyer who willfully closes his ears to information, or refuses to make inquiry when circumstances of grave suspicion imperatively demand it.
  • Let every one employ himself in what he knows.
  • He at whose risk a thing is done, should receive the profits arising from it.
  • Usury is odious in law. [Exodus 22:25, Leviticus 25:36-37, Nehemiah 5:7,10, Proverbs 28:8, Ezekiel 18:8,13,17; 22:12]

Common Sense

  • When you doubt, do not act.
  • It is a fault to meddle with what does not belong to or does not concern you.
  • Many men know many things, no one knows everything.
  • One is not present unless he understands.
  • It avails little to know what ought to be done, if you do not know how it is to be done.
  • He who questions well, learns well.
  • What ever is done in excess is prohibited by law.
  • No one is bound to give information about things he is ignorant of, but every one is bound to know that which he gives information about.
  • No man is bound to have foreknowledge of a Divine or a future event.
  • No one is bound to arm his adversary.

Consent and Contracts

  • Consent makes the law. A contract is a law between the parties, which can acquire force only by consent.
  • Consent makes the law: the terms of a contract, lawful in its purpose, constitute the law as between the parties.
  • To him consenting no injury is done.
  • He who consents cannot receive an injury.
  • Consent removes or obviates a mistake.
  • He who mistakes is not considered as consenting.
  • Every consent involves a submission; but a mere submission does not necessarily involve consent.
  • A contract founded on a base and unlawful consideration, or against good morals, is null.
  • One who wills a thing to be or to be done cannot complain of that thing as an injury.
  • The agreement of the parties makes the law of the contract.
  • The contract makes the law.
  • Agreements give the law to the contract.
  • The agreement of the parties overcomes or prevails against the law.
  • Advice, unless fraudulent, does not create an obligation.
  • No action arises out of an immoral consideration.
  • No action arises on an immoral contract.
  • In the agreements of the contracting parties, the rule is to regard the intention rather than the words.
  • The right of survivorship does not exist among merchants for the benefit of commerce.
  • When two persons are liable on a joint obligation, if one makes default the other must bear the whole.
  • You ought to know with whom you deal.
  • He who contracts, knows, or ought to know, the quality of the person with whom he contracts, otherwise he is not excusable.
  • He who approves cannot reject.
  • If anything is due to a corporation, it is not due to the individual members of it, nor do the members individually owe what the corporation owes.
  • Agreement takes the place of the law: the express understanding of parties supercedes such understanding as the law would imply.
  • Manner and agreement overrule the law.
  • The essence of a contract being assent, there is no contract where assent is wanting.


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