MAXIM. An established principle or proposition. A principle of law universally
admitted, as being just and consonant With reason.
2. Maxims in law are somewhat like axioms in geometry. 1 Bl. Com. 68. They are
principles and authorities, and part of the general customs or common law of the
land; and are of the same strength as acts of parliament, when the judges have
determined what is a maxim; which belongs to the judges and not the jury. Terms
do Ley; Doct. & Stud. Dial. 1, c. 8. Maxims of the law are holden for law, and all
other cases that may be applied to them shall be taken for granted. 1 Inst. 11. 67; 4
Rep. See 1 Com. c. 68; Plowd. 27, b.
3. The application of the maxim to the case before the court, is generally the only
difficulty. The true method of making the application is to ascertain bow the
maxim arose, and to consider whether the case to which it is applied is of the same
character, or whether it is an exception to an apparently general rule.
4. The alterations of any of the maxims of the common law are dangerous. 2 Inst.
210. The following are some of the more important maxims.
A communi observantia non est recedendum. There should be no departure
from common observance or usage. Co. Litt. 186.
A l'impossible nul n'est tenu. No one is bound to do what is impossible. 1 Bouv.
Inst. n. 601.
A verbis legis non est recedendum. From the words of the law there must be no
departure. Broom's Max. 268; 5 Rep. 119; Wing. Max. 25.
Absentia ejus qui reipublicae causa abest, neque ei, neque alii damnosa esse
debet. The absence of him who is employed in the service of the state, ought not to
be burdensome to him nor to others. Dig. 50, 17, 140.
Absoluta sentetia expositore non indiget. An absolute unqualified sentence or
proposition, needs no expositor. 2 Co. Inst. 533.
Abundans cautela non nocet. Abundant caution does no harm. 11 Co. 6.
Accessorius sequit naturam sui principalis. An accessary follows the nature of
his principal. 3 Co. Inst. 349.