Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Nemo Patriam In Qua Natus Est Exuere, Nec Ligeantiae Debitum Ejurare Possit Definition:

Latin: No one can renounce the country in which he was born nor the bond of allegiance.

Often shortened to nemo potest exuere patriam.

With proper Latin characters:

Nemo patriam in quâ natus est exuere, nec ligeantiæ debitum ejurare possit

Also presented as no one is allowed to forswear allegiance to their native land.

Writing in the Virginia Law Review, University of California at Berkely history professor James Kettner used these words:

"The legal maxim nemo potest exuere patriam - no man may abjure his native country or the allegiance that he owes - summed up the rule that would remain central in English law: once a subject, always a subject....

"(Edward) Coke expressed the maxim in a fuller form: nemo patriam, in qua natus est, exuere, nec ligeantiae debitum ejurare possit. But the maxim was usually given in its shorter form."


  • Kettner, James, Subjects or Citizens a Note on British Views Respecting the Legal Effects of American Independence, 62 VLR 945 (1976)

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