Nemo iudex in causa sua

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Nemo judex in causa sua (or nemo judex in sua causa) is a Latin phrase that means, literally, "no-one is judge in his own cause." It is a principle of natural justice that no person can judge a case in which they have an interest.[1] The rule is very strictly applied to any appearance of a possible bias, even if there is actually none: "Justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done".[2]

This principle may also be called:

  • nemo judex idoneus in propria causa est
  • nemo judex in parte sua
  • nemo judex in re sua
  • nemo debet esse judex in propria causa
  • in propria causa nemo judex

The legal effect of a breach of natural justice is normally to stop the proceedings and render any judgment invalid; it should be quashed or appealed, but may be remitted for a valid re-hearing.

The phrase is credited to Sir Edward Coke in the 17th century,[3] but actually attested as early as 1544[4]

It is also found in The Moral Sayings of Publius Syrus, a Roman Slave (1856), by Darius Lyman, Jun., A. M.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Legal definition of Nemo judex in causa sua". Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  2. ^ R v Sussex Justices, ex parte McCarthy, [1924] 1 KB 256, [1923] All ER 233
  3. ^ ABA Journal, "Show Me the Money: States, ABA Try to Figure Out When Campaign Cash Leads to a Judge’s Recusal", 1 March 2012 (retrieved 28 June 2017).
  4. ^