Semble

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Semble is an Norman French word[1] meaning "it seems or appears to be"[1] or, more simply, "it seems".[2][3]

Law[edit]

The legal expression "semble" indicates that the point to which it refers is uncertain or represents only the judge's opinion.[1][2] In a law report, the expression precedes a proposition of law which is an obiter dictum by the judge, or a suggestion by the reporter.[3]

For example, in the headnote[4] for House of Lords' decision in Hedley Byrne v Heller,[5] the reporter uses the term semble when summarising certain remarks of Lords Reid, Morris, and Hodson on a point which did not arise for decision in the case; semble indicates that this may be the law but it falls to a future case to decide authoritatively.[2]

In Simpkins v Pays [1955],[6] Sellers J, having made an award to the plaintiff, suggested "semble" that an equal award was due to the defendant's granddaughter, even though she was not party to the action.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Mann, Trischa, ed. (2010), "semble", Australian Law Dictionary. e-reference edition. (Oxford University Press. Oxford Reference Online), ISBN 978-0-19-969144-9 
  2. ^ a b c Jonathan Law and Elizabeth A. Martin, ed. (2009), "semble", A Dictionary of Law. (7th (print version) © Market House Books Ltd ed.) (Oxford University Press. Oxford Reference Online.), ISBN 978-0-19-955124-8 
  3. ^ a b Harvey Cortlandt Voorhees (1911) Concise Law Dictionary (revised edition; original compiled by Frederic Jesup Stimson) Little, Brown and Company, Boston at 311
  4. ^ (at page 576 E-F)
  5. ^ [1963] 2 All All ER 575
  6. ^ 'Simpkins v Pays' [1955] 1 WLR 975 Queen's Bench Division