De Mortuis Nil Nisi Bonum Law and Legal Definition

De mortuis nil nisi bonum is a Latin phrase that means speak no ill of the dead. However, common law principle dictates that defaming a deceased person is not actionable. A legal representative or heir of a deceased person approach a court for defamation of a dead person. The legal meaning is contradictory to the colloquial meaning that says it is socially inappropriate to say anything negative about a deceased person.