5 Latin Legal Terms Every Paralegal Should Know

Latin Terms for Paralegals

  • Procurator
  • Probatio
  • Non bis in idem
  • In solidum
  • Ad hoc

The five main Latin legal terms that every paralegal should know include terms that they will use every day on the job. Paralegals work as legal assistants and have a deeper understanding of the law than traditional assistants do. They work with attorneys to prepare for upcoming cases and often sit in the courtroom during trials. Paralegals learn the meaning behind the key terms in a paralegal studies program.

Related resource: Top 10 Best Value Online Bachelor’s in Paralegal Studies

1. Procurator

The most common Latin legal term that paralegals will hear is procurator, which describes the attorney in the case. It can describe an attorney working in a civil case to help one person sue another individual or a group, but it can also describe an attorney helping a client in a real estate deal or a criminal case. Procurator can also refer to someone who has the power of attorney over another person.

2. Probatio

Though some might think that probatio relates to probation, it is actually a Latin term that describes the body of evidence in a case. The body of evidence must include any evidence that shows an individual is guilty of a crime or responsible for a situation. It often refers to documents and physical evidence. This might include loan documents in a civil case or DNA evidence in a criminal case. The term can also apply to the witness statements presented in court.

3. Non bis in idem

One Latin term every paralegal should know is non bis in idem, which means “not twice at the same time.” This is the layman’s term for double jeopardy. In the United States, a person cannot face two charges for the same crime. If an individual stands trial for murder and receives a not guilty verdict, the court cannot try that person for the same murder again. Attorneys must make sure that they have a strong body of evidence and enough proof to show that an individual is guilty because they will not get a second chance.

4. In solidum

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, paralegals typically have an associate’s degree, which takes two years to complete. Some colleges also offer four-year programs that teach students more Latin terms such as in solidum. Though it means “for the whole,” it applies in cases where several people own the same property. It often applies to cases where a group of people take out a loan and then default on it. The borrower has the legal right to sue each person in that group or to go after a single person to get the money back.

5. Ad hoc

Ad hoc is a simple Latin term that means “for this.” It applies in many different court cases because it refers to a solution or a final decision. During a civil case, the attorney and client may decide to accept a settlement offered by an insurer. The ad hoc refers to the final decision in the case. It can also refer to decisions made in criminal court when a client pleads guilty to a charge. This term only applies to a decision made in one case that cannot transfer to other cases.

Strong language skills can help paralegals complete a degree program and succeed in the legal field. Those who took French or Spanish classes can usually understand the Latin terms they come across more easily than those who do not have any foreign language experience do. The Latin terms that every paralegal should know describe the lawyers and the situations they face.