Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Nemo Debet Bis Vexari Pro Una Et Eadem Causa Definition:

Latin: No-one shall be tried or punished twice in regards to the same event.

Related Terms: Interest Reipublicae Ut Sit Finis Litium, Res Judicata, Nemo Debet Locupletari Ex Aliena Jactura

Also sometimes rendered:

  • nemo debet bis vexari pro eadem cause.

Not restricted to the criminal law and applies equally to civil litigation: no individual should be sued more than once for the same cause.

In one English case, the Court rendered the maxim as follows:

"No one ought to be twice troubled or harassed for one and the same cause."1

In College of Opticians of Ontario v. John Doe 1, Justice Perell of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice used these words:

"Nemo debet bis vexari si constet curiae quot sid pro una et eadem causa: no man ought to be twice troubled or harassed if it appears to the court that it is for one and the same cause."

Nemo debet bis vexari pro una et eadem causa is the fundamental principle behind the more readily recognized concept of res judicata and is often quoted along with the related and companion maxim interest reipublicae ut sit finis litium. John Sopinka wrote:

"The modern rule of estoppel by res judicata is grounded upon two broad principles of public policy: first that the state has an interest that there should be an end to litigation (interest republicae ut sit finis litium), and, secondly, that no individual should be sued more than once for the same cause (nemo debet bis vexari pro una et eadem causa) or punished more than once for the same offence (nemo debet bis puniri pro uno et eodera delicto....

"No Court shall try any suit or issue in which the matter directly and substantially in issue has been directly and substantially in issue in a former suit between the same parties, or between parties under whom they or any of them claim, litigating under the same title, in a Court of jurisdiction competent to try such subsequent suit or the suit in which such issue has been subsequently raised, and has been heard and finally decided by such Court."

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