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 meaning "listen to the other side", or "let the other side be heard as well".[1] It is 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 to be a principle of fundamental justice or equity or the principle of natural justice in most legal systems. This 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] A similar principle can also be found in Islamic law, based on a hadith indicating that in litigation, both parties must be heard.[4] The principle was referred to by the International Court of Justice in the Nuclear Tests case, referring to France's non-appearance at judgment.[5] Modern legal systems differ on whether individuals can be convicted in absentia. The principle is 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.[6] The All-Campus Judicial Council of the University of Rochester has used the phrase as its motto since 2001.[7]

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. ^ Imam Abu Dawud. 2008. Sunan Abu Dawud Vol. 3 (Translated to English by Ahmad Hasan). Riyadh: Darussalam,, Hadith No. 3575, Grade: Hasan
  5. ^ Nuclear Tests (Australia c. France), C. I. J., December 20, 1974, p. 265
  6. ^
  7. ^