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Basic Maxims

The legal maxims are very short, brief or concise in nature. They are to the point statement. These maxims often used as fundamental rule or principle which society has to follow. There are some legal maxims which are commonly used in law of torts and came into light through cases. The most important factor for constituent of tort is that person or plaintiff from legal damage.1

These maxims are widely used in torts, following are the maxims which are define in detail further:
  1. Ubi Jus Ibi Remedium

    Ubi Jus Ibi Remedium is a Latin maxim which means Where there is right, there is a remedy. If any wrong has done then law will provide remedy for that. In other words, it can be said that law if any damage has been done or a persons right has been infringed the court will provide remedy as according to this maxim. The law presumes that there is no right without remedy and if all remedies are gone to enforce a right, the right in point of law cease to exist. Justice Pollock mentioned that right and wrong are contrary to each other. Right actions are those which are based on moral values and it is not prohibited by law whereas wrong actions are those which are not based on moral values and rules and is prohibited by law.3

    It is said that law of tort is development of this maxim. The term 'jus' refers to 'legal authority to do something' and remedium refers that person has right of action in court of law. It was observed by Circuit Court of Appeals of USA that it is an elementary maxim of equity of jurisprudence and without remedy there is no wrong.4

    The maxim says that if rights are available to person, then it is necessary to be maintained by that person only and remedy is available when that person is injured during the exercise of duty. It is not possible to imagine a right without remedy. The rights infringed and remedy sought must be legal. There are so many wrong which are not actionable as it does not give sufficient reason to take legal action because they are not recognized by law. It means that there is not a legal remedy for every wrong done.

    There are certain limitations on this maxim that it does not apply over political and moral wrong which are not actionable, where proper remedy is given under common law, if negligence is on part of plaintiff, in cases of public nuisance and promises made without consideration like personal commitment, for example, you are inviting someone on dinner but because of certain situation you are unable to give dinner, here that person has no right to file suit against you.

    Case Laws:
    1. Sardar Amarjit Singh Kalra vs Pramod Gupta and Others

      The Supreme Court held that maxim Ubi Jus Ibi Remedium is recognized as a basic principle of theory or philosophy of law and that courts have to protect and maintain right of people and help them, in place of denying them relief.
    2. Bhim Singh Vs State of Jammu and Kashmir

      Bhim Singh was an MLA from J & K Constituency, was unlawfully detained by police officer and restrained from giving vote and also not presented before magistrate within time. Thus, he was unable to cast a ballot but the participant whom he wanted wins the elections. So, he filed a suit that he was prevented from exercising his rights. His Fundamental Right under Article 21 was infringed. The Supreme Court held that defendants were responsible and awarded Rs. 50,000 as compensation to petitioner for infringement of his rights.
    3. Ashby Vs White

      Ashby was qualified voter however he stopped from voting in Parliamentary elections. The candidate he wanted to vote, won election. The court held that though plaintiff has suffered no damage as candidate he wished for, won election but legal right has infringed and he is entitled to enforce right. The maxim was applied in case and compensation provided to petitioner.

      Holt CJ said that "If man will multiply injuries, action must be multiplied too; for every man who is injured ought to have recompensate".
    4. Shivkumar Chadha Vs Municipal Corporation of Delhi

      The Supreme Court held that where statutory enactments do not provide any remedy but only creates rights and liabilities, if any person complains of his rights being violated or wrongly affected such person can approach civil court on basis of principle of legislation that where there is right, there is remedy.

  2. Injuria Sine Damno

    It means, Injury without Damage. It means infringement of an absolute legal right without any actual loss or damage. According, to this maxim even smallest of legal injury even if it does not lead to any damage is liable to be compensated with adequate compensation.

    For example, If A roams around B's house without any reason, then there is violation of legal right of B and maxim is applicable.

    The maxim covers the cases which are actionable per se that is which are actionable without proof of any damage or loss. Like trespass to land is actionable even though no damage has been caused as a result of trespass. In such, type of cases there is no requirement to prove that as a consequence of act, the plaintiff has suffered any harm.

    The only thing which is required to prove is infringement of legal right of plaintiff. The amount of damage depends on several factors like extent of legal injury, nature of infringement of right, precedent requirement, extent of harm foreseen by defendant and few other criteria.

    In case of this maxim loss suffered by plaintiff is relevant only for measure of damages. If plaintiff has suffered no harm but wrongful act is actionable, then the question arises that how much compensation shall be paid to plaintiff. In such cases, court will award nominal damages. The purpose is completed so far as violation of legal right doesn't remain without legal remedy. But when act of infringement of legal right is owing to mischievous and malicious act, in view of court, the court will grant exemplary damage.

    Case Laws:
    1. Ashbhy Vs White

      This is a landmark case on this maxim. In this plaintiff succeeded in his action even when act of defendant doesn't cause any damage. The plaintiff was eligible to vote and was prevented from voting which results in infringement of his right to vote. The court held that preventing a lawful voter from giving vote is violation of his legal right and thus plaintiff awarded damages.
    2. Bhim Singh Vs State of Jammu and Kashmir

      The Supreme Court recognized that right to vote has been infringed of MLA Bhim Singh and granted an exemplary damage of Rs. 50,000. Further, police official was criticizing adversely for negligence of their lawful duty and mala fide conduct.
  3. Damnum Sine Injuria:

    The maxim means, Damage without Injury. The term 'damnum' refers to 'damage', 'sine' refers to 'without' and 'injuria' refers to 'injury'. It means that when an action is done either intentionally or not of inflicting injury to someone else but without violating legal rights of person, then such action isn't actionable under law. Even if plaintiff has suffered some kind of monetary or physical damage due to act of defendant, the court of law would not grant legal remedy as legal right has not been violated.
    For example, If A has a judiciary preparation coaching in Delhi. Every batch of his coaching is always full, but because of coaching opened by B, A's batches are not filling as there is shift of students from coaching of A to B. Here, A cannot file a suit against B yet A have suffered monetary damages because of B's coaching.

    It is an implied principle of law that there are no remedies for any wrongs until any kind of legal right has been infringed. The court presumes that damages have to be awarded where legal right has been infringed but where there is no infringement of legal right, the maxim will apply thereby providing no remedies.

    There are several acts which are harmful but not wrong thereby giving no right of action, Damnum may be absque injuria. An act which are done for self defence against common enemy such as removal of support to land where no such right of support has been acquired and damage caused due to acts authorized by statute are instances of 'Damnum Absque Injuria' and damage resulting isn't actionable.

    In case of Action vs Blundell, defendants dig a coalpit intercepted water which affected plaintiff's well. The court held plaintiff not liable as plaintiff digs for his purposes and the inconvenience of defendant falls within, Damnum Absque Injuria.

    Case Laws:
    1. Gloucester Grammar School

      A defendant set up a school in neighborhood to that of plaintiff. As a result, the plaintiff suffers monetary loss, plaintiff filed suit against defendant. Here, court held that plaintiff has no right to complain of opening a new school. Here, Damnum may be absque injuriua.

      Hankford J. said that:
      "As I have a mill and my neighbour builds another mill whereby profit of my mill is diminished. I shall have no action against him although I have suffered damage".
    2. Mogul Steamship Co. Ltd. Vs McGregor Gow and Co.

      Several steamship companies came together and drove away the monopoly of ship transportation of goods business of plaintiff's company. The company having monopoly diminishes as customer started to shift towards another company. The aggrieved company claimed damages.

      The court held that Plaintiff had no cause of action as defendants lawfully protect and extend their trade and increase profits.

Thus, tort is a wrongful conduct which results in infringement of legal right of person and further it will provide remedies to the person whose right has been infringed. There are certain basic maxims that is 'Ubi Jus Ibi Remedium', which means where there is right, there is remedy, 'Injuria Sine Damno', means the legal right of person is infringed but without actual damage or loss and 'Damnum Sine Injuria' which means damage happened to plaintiff but his legal right has not been infringed. On the basis of these maxims, the person whose right has been infringed will provided remedy by court of law.

Written By: Arushi Srivastava - Student [BALL.B Hons] Also Read:

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