10 Cool Things Law Students Say That They Can Absolutely Get Away With.
There’s a popular presumption that anyone donning the black and white attire is an egghead so that usually puts a lot of pressure on law students to live up to that expectation by exhibiting behaviors that would be seen as a smart. So we’ve had to conceive a lot of high-sounding phrases and terminologies to bamboozle our listeners and to get away with the impression that we really know it all. Read on to understand some of these phrases.
(1) Political question doctrine
When a law student says wittily that something is a “political question”. It simply means that a court will refuse to entertain a matter because it is outside their lawful jurisdiction. This often happens in cases involving inquests into a “discretionary power” conferred on the executive or legislature. A court will refuse to entertain a suit brought to impugn the power of parliament to discipline erring members. Applying this in a typical domestic setting, if daddy says buy “whatever you like” with your money gift, mummy cannot turn round to question your decision to spend it all chocolates because it was a discretionary power right? That would make the matter a “political question!”
(2) An academic exercise
If a law student says something is an “academic exercise” it is the equivalent of medicine after death. It means that the thing in question has no practical usefulness or relevance to the world albeit it may only have relevance in the world of academe. So arguing over something that has already been decided serves no useful purpose and would qualify for an “academic exercise”.
(3) Contumacious conduct
If someone’s conduct is described as contumacious, it means the person has willfully disobeyed a lawful court order. Selling landed property after an injunction not to sell would amount to contumacious conduct. Whenever Johnny is headstrong over daddy’s orders, isn’t his conduct contumacious?
(4) Moral Hazard
If someone’s act is described as a moral hazard, it means there was a lack of incentive on their part to guard against a risk because they were protected against its consequences. Playing with fire around the house because you have fire insurance would make your action a real moral hazard.
(5) Dutch Courage
This is a term for courage derived from drinking alcohol. When Jimmy the guy who could never look you the eye, hurls abuses at you the day he drinks himself to stupor. Then you’d know he did it on purpose. Since he could never really bring himself to do it in his right senses, he got drunk to have the Dutch Courage to do this very thing.
(6) The egg shell rule
If you do something that is caught by the egg shell rule, it means that a wrongdoer had taken a victim as they found them and the fact that the victim was unusually frail and susceptible to the injury in question is no defense to the wrong. A sickly man who dies by a mere slap from another man makes it murder nonetheless.
If someone steals your dummy phone, it would be stealing nonetheless by the egg shell rule as they are deemed to have taken the phone to be working.
(7) Locus standi
You can tell someone they don’t have “the locus” (short for locus standi) to do something if it was never in their place to do the thing in question either because they had no connection to the matter to support their participation or had suffered no harm from the matter. A tenant cannot sue another defaulting tenant for non-payment of rent since they are neither the landlord nor the caretaker. That is some guts!
(8) Persona non grata
This resembles “locus” a little but it is used in the sense of a trespasser. Why should a neighbor use your kitchen in your absence? He would be a big time “persona non grata”. They are unwelcome, unacceptable and no longer favored at your place.
(9) Particeps Criminis
If someone is described as particeps criminis, it simply means they participated in the commission of a crime (an accomplice if you like).
(10) Lets unbound!
The concept of “unbounding” as used in law practice indicates a lawyer is only willing to do half of the legal work because a client cannot afford their full legal services. The lawyer does the one part they are paid for and the client himself takes care of the rest. You can say “let’s unbound” to someone who is only willing to pay you for half your services and then they’ll do the remainder.
If you tell someone something they said or suggested is a non-issue, it means the thing mentioned has no relevance to the matter at hand.
A youngish lawyer with penetrating insight, Patrick Herbert is the Editor-in-Chief and founder of Lawstudenthub, a site dedicated to helping new wigs find their footing in a trickily slippery legal profession and stay current with emerging developments in the legal industry. He holds an LLB from the University of Benin and a BL from the Nigerian Law School, Abuja. In his spare time, Patrick doubles as a professional writer and copyeditor.
If you have any urgent enquiries, you can email him @[email protected]