Audi alteram partem

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Decorative 18th century door piece from the Vierschaar (city tribunal) in City Hall of The Hague, by Jacob de Wit, illustrating Audi alteram partem.

Audi alteram partem (or audiatur et altera pars) is a Latin phrase that means "hear the other side too", or "hear the alternative party too".[1] It is most often used to refer to the principle that no person should be judged without a fair hearing in which each party is given the opportunity to respond to the evidence against them.[2]

"Audi alteram partem" is considered a principle of fundamental justice or equity in most legal systems. The principle includes the rights of a party or his lawyers to confront the witnesses against him, to have a fair opportunity to challenge the evidence presented by the other party, to summon one's own witnesses and to present evidence, and to have counsel, if necessary at public expense, in order to make one's case properly.

History of use[edit]

As a general principle of rationality in reaching conclusions in disputed matters, "Hear both sides" was treated as part of common wisdom by the ancient Greek dramatists.[3]

The principle was referred to by the International Court of Justice in the Nuclear Tests case, referring to France's non-appearance at judgment.[4]

Today, legal systems differ on whether individuals can be convicted in absentia.

The principle is highly used in labour law matters in countries like South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Other Uses[edit]

The Political Interest Society of the University of Melbourne uses the phrase as its motto.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ audi alteram partem: Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
  2. ^ Audi alteram partem's entry in the legal dictionary
  3. ^ e.g. Aeschylus, The Eumenides 431, 435
  4. ^ Nuclear Tests (Australia c. France), C. I. J., December 20, 1974, p. 265
  5. ^