Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Cursus Curiae Est Lex Curiae Definition:

Latin: The practice of the court is the law of the court.

Related Terms: Rules of Court

A maxim to establish that the rules of court or, historically, the customs of the Court, are as binding as the law.

Often presented as simply cursus curiae or, with proper Latin characters:

  • Cursus curiæ est lex curiæ

Walter Shumaker's law dictionary:

"CURSUS CURIAE EST LEX CURIAE - The practice of the court is the law of the court."

Herbert Broom explained the maxim as follows:

"Where a practice has existed it is convenient to adhere to it, because it is the practice, even though no reason can be assigned for it; for an inveterate practice in the law generally stands upon principles that are founded in justice and convenience. Hence, if any necessary proceeding in an action be informal, or be not done within the time limited for it, or in the manner prescribed by the practice of the court, it may be set aside for irregularity."


  • Broom, Herbert, A Selection of Legal Maxims Classified and Illustrated, (London: Sweet & Maxwell Limited, 1845).
  • Shumaker, Walter and Longsdorf, George Foster, The Cyclopedic Dictionary of Law Comprising the Terms and Phrases of American Jurisprudence, Including Ancient and Modern Common Law, International Law, and Numerous Select Titles From the Civil Law, the French and the Spanish Law, Etc., Etc. With an Exhaustive Collection of Legal Maxims, (St. Paul, Minnesota: Keefe-Davidson Law Book Company, 1901), page 237.

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