Ante Litem Motam Law and Legal Definition

Ante litem motam means spoken before a lawsuit is brought. It may refer to a prior motive to distort the truth before the lawsuit was filed. For example, the common law hearsay exception for statements of pedigree required that the declaration have been made ante litem motam, and that the declarant be a member of the family about which his statement was made. Some modern evidence law liberalizes the common law rule by eliminating the ante litem motam requirement as being relevant to weight rather than admissibility, and by extending the exception to statements made by non-family members who have been "intimately associated" with the family.