The title of this article represents a contrast between Latin which is archaic and “pa more” which the present generation is fond of using. As has been mentioned in past articles, Latin is considered a “dead” language although it is the official language of the Catholic Church. Masses in the Vatican are celebrated in Latin and official documents of the Holy See are in Latin. Latin words and phrases remain in use today mainly in the fields of Law and Medicine. So here are additional words and phrases commonly found in laws, jurisprudence, and law books and sometimes abused by some lawyers after a drink or two.
Ultra vires: (Beyond the power) This term is usually encountered when it comes to corporations and local governments. The SC in Acebedo Optical Company, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 385 Phil. 956, 978 said:”Ultra vires acts or acts which are clearly beyond the scope of one’s authority are null and void and cannot be given any effect. The doctrine of estoppel cannot operate to give effect to an act which is otherwise null and void or ultra vires.”
Sui generis: (Of its own kind; the only one of its kind) “From its over-reaching corporate objectives, its special duty and authority to exercise certain consular functions, up to the oversight by the executive department over its operations—all the while maintaining its legal status as a non-governmental entity—the MECO is, for all intents and purposes, sui generis.” (Funa vs. MECO and COA, G.R. No. 193462 February 4, 2014).
Sub judice: (In the course of trial) “The sub judice rule restricts comments and disclosures pertaining to the judicial proceedings in order to avoid prejudging the issue, influencing the court, or obstructing the administration of justice. A violation of this rule may render one liable for indirect contempt under Sec. 3(d), Rule 71 of the Rules of Court…” (Marantan vs. Diokno, G.R. No. 205956 February 12, 2014)
Sine die: (Without day) Indefinitely. Justice Bautista Angelo in a separate opinion said: “The term “recess” has a definite legal meaning. It means the interval between a session of Congress that has adjourned and another of the same Congress. It does not refer to the interval between the session of one Congress and that of another. In that case the interval is not referred to as a “recess” but an adjournment sine die.” (G.R. No. L-19313 Aytona vs. Castillo, et al., January 19, 1962)
Res ipsa loquitor: (The thing speaks for itself) The concept was explained in Garcia vs. People (G.R. No. 187926, February 15, 2012) “The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is simply a recognition of the postulate that, as a matter of common knowledge and experience, the very nature of certain types of occurrences may justify an inference of negligence on the part of the person who controls the instrumentality causing the injury in the absence of some explanation by the accused-appellant who is charged with negligence.”
Res accessoria sequitur rem principalem: (Accessory things follow principal things) If a thing is considered an accessory of another (principal), a transfer of ownership of the principal includes the transfer of ownership of the accessory. In the case of Cu Unjieng vs. MSC (G.R. No. 37206 September 22, 1933), the Court decreed that the machinery which is the accessory of the sugar central were necessarily included in the notice of sale. “As to whether or not the machinery and accessories in question were included in the notice of sale at public auction, inasmuch as the sheriff stated therein that he would sell all the properties belonging to the Mabalacat Sugar Central and said machinery and accessories are integral parts of said sugar central, they were included in the notice in question following the principle of law that the accessory follows the principal.”
(Source of the Latin terms and their literal meanings: Osborn’s Concise Law Dictionary. Sixth Edition. John Burke. 1976)