Nemo Dat Quod Non Habet Law and Legal Definition

Nemo dat quod non habet is a Latin phrase meaning "no one can give what he does not have.” For intance, the purchase of a possession from someone who has no ownership right to it also denies the purchaser any ownership title. This rule aims to protect bonafide purchasers and usually stays valid even if the purchaser does not know that the seller has no right to claim ownership of the subject matter assuming that the purchaser is a bona fide purchaser.

There are numerous exceptions to the nemo dat rule. This is particularly true in the case of negotiable instruments, such as checks. If a thief A steals a check from B and sells it to innocent C, C is entitled to deal with the check, and A cannot claim it back from C.