Actio personalis moritur cum persona
Actio personalis moritur cum persona is a Latin expression meaning "a personal right of action dies with the person".
Effect of the maxim
Some legal causes of action can survive the death of the claimant or plaintiff, for example actions founded in contract law. However, some actions are personal to the plaintiff, defamation of character being one notable example. Therefore, such an action, where it relates to the private character of the plaintiff, comes to an end on his death, whereas an action for the publication of a false and malicious statement which causes damage to the plaintiff's personal estate will survive to the benefit of his or her personal representatives.
Origins of the maxim
It has been argued by academics and acknowledged by the courts that notwithstanding the Latinate form in which the proposition is expressed its origins are less antiquated. It has been described by one Lord Chancellor (Viscount Simon) as:
...not in fact the source from which a body of law has been deduced, but a confusing expression, framed in the solemnity of the Latin tongue, in which the effect of death upon certain personal torts was inaccurately generalised.
The Kings Bench first used the maxim in Cleymond v Vincent(1523) but it was popularized by Edward Coke, with cases like Pinchons Case (1616),  and Bane's Case, and to some extent with Slades Case. (1605)
- Goudy Two Ancient Brocards in Essays in Legal History Vinogradoff (ed.) and Winfield Textbook of the Law of Tort 2nd edn. p.201
- cf. the remarks of Viscount Simon in Stewart v. London, Midland and Scottish Railway Co. 1943 SC (HL) 19 at 26
- YB12Hen.VII T f22 pl2.
- Alfred William Brian Simpson, A History of the Common Law of Contract, Volume 1 (Clarendon Press, 1987) p572.
- Alfred William Brian Simpson, A History of the Common Law of Contract, Volume 1 (Clarendon Press, 1987) p564.
- Alfred William Brian Simpson, A History of the Common Law of Contract, Volume 1 (Clarendon Press, 1987) p443.
- Pinchon's case (1611) 9 Rep. 86
- Hambly v. Trott (1776) 1 Cowper 371
- Phillips v Homfray  1 Ch 465 (CA).