From over many centuries, numerous law experts and specialists have developed
many legal phrases, doctrines, expressions and maxims to help to boost the
growth of the precision of study and understanding of the legal profession on a
better and very efficient level. Many of them are written in the Latin language.
With frequent updates and changes of judicial interpretations, many of the
maxims have been re-defined. In contrast, others appear as the same original,
birth-meaning, as of the same as in the use of the meaning of law which may or
may not differ from everyday meaning. The Latin maxim of " Actio Personalis
Cum Persona: meaning a personal right of action dies with the person" basically
refers to the destruction of actions of 'Tort' or 'Contract.' By the demise of
any individual or either any form of abrasion of try demised individual.
Numerous legal measures can not be put into action or brought forward after the
individual or person's demise.
The maxim is not peculiar to the typical law
forte. The originality, the utility abs the application of the doctrine is
gradually falling in modern times limitations of the doctrine has gradually come
up by the influence of judicial decisions and authority. The doctrine continues
to be restricted and limited by the legislature. The early principle of law
stated how the demise of an individual takes away all their personal duty and
takes away every remedy as well.
Compared to the present primary strata of universal law's acceptance of earlier
periods, the doctrine has been severely discouraged and restricted to the
limitation of the judicial legislation. Under the common law, any wrong or
injury is done to any individual or the property of any other person; mere unliquified damages are recovered in compensation and accordance with the
recovery. Eventually, the right of action dies with the demise of an individual,
to whom the wrong or injury was done or by whom the wrong or injury was done.
Maxims1 are a collection of legal truisms which are used as a rule of thumb by
both judges and lawyers and are listed in the codified statues of most states.
They represent the concentrated experience of generations of lawyers or, as Sir
James Macintosh2 puts it, they are:
"The condensed good sense of nation. A collection of maxims forms a summary of
When compared with Proverbs,
Cieero3 notes that "they are pointed speeches and salt- pits from which you may
extract salt and sprinkle it where you will". Maxims are of comparatively late
origin as it takes some time for such good sense to be concentrated. This agrees
with the view of Agricola4 who remarks that they are short sentences into which,
as in rules, the ancients have compressed life.
According to Kodilinye5, Maxims in law have two purposes (i) to show the
historical development of rules and procedures ; (ii) to guide the application
to those rules at the present time and in the future. Furthermore, and as far as
study of equity in law in concerned, they are a convenient and meaningful way of
classifying equitable principles and the many and varied areas in law. In law
there is a huge importance if basic principles
In law, there is immense importance of basic principles. Legal maxims are
principles of law that are represented in the Latin language. The use of legal
maxims can easily represent many broad principles of law and equity is. The
history of legal language can be traced back to the Roman age.
These terms are
being readily used by lawyers and judges during legal proceedings. These are the
ideals of law that a judge considers whole deciding a case in the court of law.
There are some maxims of which principles are there in codified laws. During the
medieval and modern age, many legal issues related to the rights of individuals
Decided with references to the legal maxims. Uniquely, the legal maxims put
forth the legal principles directly, and they follow the principles of natural
justice. Most of the legal maxims find their base from reasons and necessities.
Based on these principles, many cases were decided by the judges in the
respective judicial courts.
The legal maxims fund their relevance in legal codes
of every civilized nation in Morden times; with increases in commercial and
technological advancements, the nature of litigations has changed. There are
different types of legal cases that have been evolved with changing society and
values. Still, all these changes have not diminished the importance of
fundamental principles of law or the legal maxims.
The Latin, maxims originated
in the Roman age and have not lost their significance, and we can still find
substantial use of legal maxims in judgments, reports, articles, and law
reviews. Hence, it is justified to say that the fundamental of law fund
themselves in legal maxims. They prove to be of an utmost important tool and
technically stands as an integral part of any operation in the field of law.
Similarly the Latin maxim of "Actio Personalis Moritur Cum Persona" states how
the the action of "tort" or "contract" ends with the demise of an individual,
who was either injured or any injury was done by the individual. Few legal
causes of actions can not be brought or out out after the death of the person.
From the day of the first quotation of the maxim, in 1946, in the case of
defamation filed against a woman6, who's demise before paying the compensation
of the damages to the tortfeasor, enraged a civil suit against her. The kings
bench first used the maxim of "Actio Personalis Moritur Cum Persona"
Cleymond v Vincent
(1523) but it was popularized by Edward coke7, with
cases like Pinchons Case
(1616) 8, and Bane's case9,and to some extent with
case ( 1605)".
The study will first break down the actual theoretical meaning of the maxim, and
then subsequently will proceed to research of the utility, significance and
further references which was given from the maxim. The study will further
deliberate on how the maxim lights on the upright of the fundamental of law in
After the brief description of the facts of various judgments,
given on virtue of the maxim of "Action Personalized Moritur Cum
study will further progress on analysing the details of the judgments given by
different judicial courts and judges. Furthermore the study will be proceed in a
path, where the relevance of the maxim in regards with time period will be
analyzed and will be studied in precision.
Eventually, the study would be
concluded with the suggestive norms, ideas and principles that may could be used
as essential point of view in application of the maxim in proper, precise used
manner, and proving the use of maxim to be be more logical, analytical and
- What are the application and use of the maxim "Actio Personalis
Moritur Cum Persona" With reference to case laws?
- What can we understand from the latin maxim of "Actio Personalis
Moritur Cum Persona"?
- What is the objective of the maxim and it's practical use of the maxim "Actio
Personalis Moritur Cum Persona" In modern time?
The sole and utmost objective of the research work is to analyse and describe
how the legal Latin maxim of " Actio Personalis Moritur Cum Persona" basically
means and how they are used in various aspects of the legal profession and
The basic and prior objective of the research work are
- To explain briefly to the readers of the research work about the
meaning of the Latin maxim of "Actio Personalis Moritur Cum Persona".
- To analyse the maxim of "Actio Personalis Moritur Cum Persona" in precision
and clarify its objective, pertaining with its practical uses in current times,
- To critically study the application of the maxim "Actio
Personalis Moritur Cum Persona" in regards to the judgments, how the maxim have created a
structured legal framework with it's utility and the consideration of the maxim
in various alterations
of laws and judgments given by the respective courts.
The researcher, with the prefatory research concludes and claims that there has
been none of existing research works, analysing the study of the Latin maxim of
" Actio Personalis Moritur Cum Persona" at the current study of the subject and
research. The researcher initiated the study and research afresh right from the
basic understanding of the maxim from different sources of legal information, to
the current case laws which dealt with the application and utility of the maxim
in various legal proceedings.
From critically analysing the study of the maxim and reacting it with
the facts of the current case laws that pertained with the maxim in
direct relevance and reference to the proceedings of the Lower courts ,
High courts and eventually the Supreme Court. To obtain a more discrete
and crystal clear picture of the research study of the subject of the
Latin maxim of "Actio Personalis Moritur Cum Persona
the researcher refers to the The Law of Torts 10, authored by Ratanlal &
Dhirajlal, which is a comprehensive and extensive book on law of torts. The
books give an insightful and descriptive information about the Latin
maxim of "Actio Personalis Moritur Cum Persona
", with references to numerous case laws m
including English cases and Indian cases as well, which were given and were
pertained under the jurisdiction of the the maxim, accordingly and respectively.
To add to the efficiency and essence of intelligence in presentation of
the subject to the theoretical study of the Latin maxim "Actio
Personalis Moritur Cum Persona
", the researcher refers to numerous and various journals articles on
the Latin maxim, as a wider topic. Actio Personalis Moritur Cum Persona11, a
article which draws a great, deep study and an explanatory study on the Latin
maxim, respectively which initiates the researcher with help and access on
better understanding of the research subject.
R.K. Bangia's the law of torts : including Motor Vehicles Act, Consumer
Protection Act and Competition Act12 is another book that adds value to the
current case analyses and study of the subject. The book includes a a very
precisely detailed description of the Latin maxim
of Actio Personalis Moritur Cum Persona and facilitates the researcher for a
better understanding and knowledge of the subject matter of the research. The
book is a great resource for the pertinent of the maxim in a very efficient
manner, and also includes various definitions and explanations given by various
jurists and professionals on the maxim. This would help compote and compare the
references made in the further mentioned judgments and case laws of the maxim of
the subject matter.
Many cases relevant to the Latin maxim of "Actio Personalis Moritur Cum
exist. However, the researcher opts for choosing the most relevant case laws and judgements and draw the references respectively to the ones that have made
significant and utmost difference in the understanding of the Latin maxim in
legal proceedings in variously courts and by numerous judges, accordingly. In
Nurani Jamal And Others vs Naram Srinivasa Rao And Others,13 the Andhra Pradesh
High court held that, the action of tort fir damages of personal
injuries does not dues with the demise of the injured individual and the
maxim of " Actio Personalis Moritur Cum Persona" has no application where there is any sort of
loss to the estate of the demised individual or any other party.
Similarly, in Girja Nandini And Ors vs Bijendra Narain Choudhury
Supreme Court held that the maxim of "Actio Personalis Moritur Cum
Persona" has certain
limitations and restrictions to it's application. It comes into action and
application to a limited actions such as actions for injuries and damages if
defamation, assault or any other personal injuries caused to an individual, but
not causing or resulting to the demise of the person, the court strictly adhered
that after the demise of the person the relief for the injuries or damages done
by nugatory can not be claimed or enjoyed.
Other cases also referred to, such as Khuzemabhai Syedna vs Mufaddal Burhanuddin
15 the Bombay High court held that the maxim "Actio Personalis
Moritur Cum Persona", though having an origin of English common fundamental law, have
faced many criticisms, throughout, even in England16. It has been portrayed as
unjust maxim , absurd in terms of its origin, inaccurate references in its
expression and uncertain and unreliable in its application and utility. It have
very often caused to grave injustice and and vagueness of the judicial preceding
of various cases in different courts and case laws.
Furthermore, the researcher refers Many other case laws for the better
understanding and crucially examine the utility and application of the
maxim of "Actio Personalis Moritur Cum Persona" in the practical use of the maxim in
legal proceedings and judgments. How the maxim creates and impact or difference
in the objective manner of giving out judgments in different public interest
litigations filed, in accordance with the facts and stated governing laws of the
case study. Such references and comparisons would enhance the quality of the
current case study and analysis of the maxim in deeper level.
The study and research of the subject of the Latin maxim of "Actio
Personalis Moritur Cum Persona
" has used the theoretical design of research. Theoretical
research are done to help the researcher to gather knowledge and information on
a particular subject. It is conducted by all kind of experts and professionals.
Theoretical research are done and they acts as basic root and fundamental point
that guides subsequent inventions and innovations. The researchers digs and
initiates the research with the start of writing hypothesis and runs tests by
designing particular experiments relating to the subject matter. This leads to
the scientific authenticity of the research well nest and defined.
In accordance with the options and guidelines of methodology chosen, it very
crucially, validate the conclusion and results obtained in the research work.
The main body of the research paper (includes: case references, application of
The maxim "Actio Personalis Moritur Cum Persona
" which implies that the the
action of "tort" or "contract" ends with the demise of an individual, who was
either injured or any injury was done by the individual. Few legal causes of
actions can not be brought or put out
after the death of the person.
As mentioned earlier in the introduction to the study, the central idea
and understanding of the Latin maxim of "Actio Personalis Moritur Cum
been cleared and visualized in accordance with clear states and definitions of
the Latin maxim mentioned in various different resources of study that
facilitated this research.
The maxim of "Actio Personalis Moritur Cum Persona" has certain
limitations to it's utility and application in regards to case laws
proceedings and judgments under the jurisdiction of different judicial
courts and judges and the use of maxim may or may not differ or make an
impact to a certain judgment to certain limits, May vary from one case
law to another. In various judgments the application of the maxim of "Actio
Personalis Moritur Cum Persona" have been portrayed vague and uncertain and the plaintiff may not seek
remedy of it for their relief of the damages done by them or seek for
compensation for the damages or injuries done to the person or the individual's
Whereas in certain cases and their judgments the court held that , the
maxim of "Actio Personalis Moritur Cum Persona" is relevant and proved to
be a righteous subject matter of the plaintiff to plead for relief for the
damages or Any kind of injury done by them or may seek for compensation for the
damages or injuries done to the person or the individual's other parties.
The origin of the maxim of "Actio Personalis Moritur Cum Persona" itself
have caused a lot of questionable references and dispute. Even being a
part of the fundamentals of English common law the origin or the maxim
of "Actio Personalis Moritur Cum Persona" have been out and put in a stake of questions even in
England. The maxim in many references were said to be very obscure of of its
origin, it is said to have a description that may lead to many unjust actions of
a judicial judgments and justice shall may not be served to the accordance.
In the case of Nurani Jamal And Others vs Naram Srinivasa Rao And Others
on 5 April, 1993 , The single judge bench, At the discrete discussion of
the maxim "Actio Personalis Moritur Cum Persona"to motor accident claims, in high Court of
Andhra Pradesh held that in the pertained current case, the respondent filed a
claim petition for the injuries and damages supported and sustained by him in a
motor vehicle accident. During the pendency and anxiousness of the said
plaintiff O.P., met with another accident and died.
The legal representatives,
that was his wife and parents, of the deceased filed a plead petition in the
said lower judicial court and the same was dismissed by the trial Court.
Overruling the refusal, Against which, a C.R.P. was filed before the high court
of Andhra Pradesh. The main and utmost important dilemma of questions that fell
for consideration and understanding before the Court were whether the claim for
damages, after the demise of the injured in a motor vehicle accident is
maintainable or not and whether the rightful legal representatives can proceed
and continue the action of tort , if there is a extent of any loss to the estate
of the deceased?
But eventually, keeping every facts of the case clear and discrete the judgment
of Andhra Pradesh held that the action for damages for personal injuries does
not end with the demise of the injured and that the above maxim has no
application where there is a loss to the estate of the deceased. And the
plaintiff can not plead for their relief for the damages and injury they caused
to the respondent.
Thus, this judgment of the case, clearly said that the the application
of maxim of "Actio Personalis Moritur Cum Persona" does not a have a valid and
resourceful utility and application in judicial proceedings and clouds the the
notion of justice to humankind.
Seen in one of the other case, of Girja Nandini And Ors vs Bijendra Narain
, On 11th august, 1966, the Supreme Court held that the, then dispute
between the plaintiff and defendant was adverted In the issues it may adverted
that the issue regarding the properties which was legally induced and stood in
the name of the defendant belonged to the joint family of the parties.
current condition found by the Court in the First Instance and attained by the
High Court many items of property were acquired in the name of the defendant by Bidya Narain. Some of the prior properties that were bought and owned were
acquired by purchases at Court auctions. With the The Trial Court's view, it
stated that the trail court already held that the properties which were acquired
with the aid of joint family funds by Bidya Narain and his sons, the High Court
The properties which were in possession of private treaty the plaintiff Bijendra Narain has his claim to an extent share, but he proclaims that a share
in the properties which had been purchased at Court auctions and the purchased
property cannot be given to Bijendra Narain because of Section 66 of the Code of
Civil Procedure. Section 66 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides:
shall be maintained against any person claiming title under a purchase certified
by the Court in such manner as may be prescribed on the ground that the purchase
was made on behalf of the plaintiff or on behalf of some one through whom the
plaintiff claims transactions which are called 'benami' are lawful and are not
According to the Trial Court's opinion, the trial court has
already held that the The High Court agreed on properties purchased with joint
family funds by Bidya Narain and his sons. The plaintiff, Bijendra Narain, has a
claim to an extent share in the properties that were in private treaty
possession, but he claims that a share in the properties that were purchased at
Court auctions and the purchased property cannot be given to Bijendra Narain due
to Section 66 of the Code of Civil Procedure.18
Eventually, the Supreme Court held that the maxim of "Actio Personalis
Moritur Cum Persona" has certain
limitations and restrictions to it's application and utility . It comes into
action and application to a limited actions such as actions for injuries and
damages if defamation, assault or any other personal injuries caused to an
individual, but not causing or resulting to the demise of the person, the court
strictly adhered that after the demise of the person the relief for the injuries
or damages done by nugatory can not be claimed or enjoyed.
And no such action was present at the pertaining case, hence the plaintiff could
not plead for the relief and compensation or either gain any property in favour
of them by wrongful claims and adhered laws.
As in the case of Daljit Singh And Anr. vs Yogeshwar Prasad
on 20 April, 200619,
the Supreme Court held that the demise of the plaintiff during pendency does not
change anything in pertaining of the judicial proceedings and judgment.
The plaintiff still remain relegated to its original position of before
the civil suit appeal. It was also held that the Latin maxim of "Actio
Personalis Moritur Cum Persona
" in India is not universally acceptable and understood.
Keeping in view the of the virtue of above mentioned cases and judgments
, it certain that the decision of the learned Trial Court is extremely
vague and clouded And retrospectively affected and has caused injustice
to the position of the individual and hence it comes under the
application of the exception to the maxim "Actio Personalis Cum
. Further the misleading and vague
judgment, subject matter of the appeal of the civil suit , has decided to review
the title and ownership of both the appellant and the respondent under the
respective sale deeds.
Therefore the Latin maxim of "Actio Personalis Moritur Cum Persona" is a part of
fundamental English law. And was assigned and used by different judicial courts
and judges by time to time and may differ from the cases to cases. But the Latin
maxim Actio Personalis Moritur Cum Persona has certain limitations and
restrictions to its application and utility.
Complete application of the maxim may have lead to certain case in which justice
was not. served rightfully to the claimant.
Hence, the maxim of Actio Personalis Moritur Cum Persona can be said to have a
existence and recognition in field of law but to a certain limitations and
The one way suggestive measure for the Latin maxim "Actio Personalis
Moritur Cum Persona" by keeping the virtue of judicial judgments and preceding such can be;
- Limiting the application of the maxim in regards to judgments of case
- The maxim should not be considered the most integral fundamental
principle or doctrine which , as it may lead to injustice.
- The utility of maxim, if can be, comprised, should be done, because of
the vague and secure nature of the Latin maxim.
- Expression of a general truth or principle, especially an aphoristic or
sententious one: the maxims of La Rochefoucauld. a principle or rule of
- Sir James Macintosh's expression is quoted in William J(1895), 'Latino
Maxims in English law Magazine and law review , 4th series, vol. XX, No. CCXCVII, (1894-1895), London, Stevens and Haynes Law publishers, p.283
- Sir Francis Bacon Refers to Cicero in Bacon F. (1661), a collection of
Apophthegms, New-and old, London, Sarah Griffin for William Leo and co. ef.
- See Agricola in Edward Holme F. (1902), prooerb Lower: Many sayings,
Wise or otherwise on many subjects,Gleaned from many sources, London,
Ellione stock, paternoster Row E.C., Ebook edition by Project Gutenberg
ebook of proverbs, 2010, p.6
- Kodilinyne G. (1975) An introduction to equity in Nigeria, rep. 2005,
Ibadan, Spectrum books, p. 12.
- YB12Hen.VII T f22 pl2.
- Alfred William Brian Simpson, A History of the Common Law of Contract,
Vol. 1 (1987, Clarendon Press) p572
- Alfred William Brian Simpson, A History of the Common Law of Contract,
Vol. 1 (1987,Clarendon Press) p564.
- Alfred William Brian Simpson, A History of the Common Law Contract, Vol.
1 (1987,Clarendon Press) p443.
- Ratanlal & Dhirajlal, The Law Of Torts (Lexis Nexis, 29th ed., 2020)
- B&B associate LLP, Actio Personalis Moritur Cum Persona, (Jan 30th,
- R.K. Bangia, the law of torts : including Motor Vehicles Act, Consumer
Protection Act and Competition Act ( Faridabad, Haryana : Allahabad Law
Agency, Delhi, 24th edition: 2017)
- Nurani Jamal And Others vs Naram Srinivasa Rao And Others, (1995) ACC
344, 1994 ACJ 222, AIR 1994 AP 6, 1993 (1) ALT 686
- Girja Nandini And Ors vs Bijendra Narain Choudhury,1967 AIR 1124, 1967
SCR (1) 93
- Khuzemabhai Syedna vs Mufaddal Burhanuddin Saifuddin, Chamber Summons
No. 1290 Of 2016 In Suit No. 337 OF 2014
- England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom, 130,279 km.
- S. 66(1), code of civil procedure, Rep. by Benami Transactions
(Prohibition) Act, 1988 (45 of 1988), sec. 7 (w.e.f. 19-5-1988).
- Girja Nandini And Ors vs Bijendra Narain Choudhury, On 11th august,
1966,Appeal No : 756 of 1964
- Daljit Singh And Anr. vs Yogeshwar Prasad on 20 April,
Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Shreya Jha
Authentication No: AU222011651317-8-0822