Maxims Law Law and Legal Definition

Maxims are a general principles of law embodied in familiar phrases which are used as guiding truths by both judges and lawyers. They are listed in the codified statutes of most states, and are used to determine the equity of a situation.

Examples include:

"First in time is first in right." "For every wrong there is a remedy." "The law helps the vigilant, before those who sleep on their rights." "Particular expressions qualify those which are general." "He who spares the guilty threatens the innocent." "A public right cannot be changed by private agreement."

An example of a Latin legal maxim is "actio non datur non damnificato". This translates to an action is not given to one who is not injured.