Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Non Sequitur Definition:

Latin: it does not follow.

To borrow from Shumaker and Longsdorf's 1940 law dictionary:

"Non sequitur (Latin) It does not follow."

Or James Ballentine (1830):

"Non sequitur (non sek wi-ter). It does not follow."

Usually, judges use this phrase to disagree with a proposition made before it that a conclusion in law follows from some factual allegation; that the second fact does not necessarily flow from, or is not relevant to, the first.

Some examples of the use of the Latin expression in judicial decisions:

"It is a non sequitur to say that First Amendment rights may not be regulated because they hold a preferred position in the hierarchy of the constitutional guarantees of the incidents of freedom. "1

"It is stressed in the argument that if the purchaser, or any purchaser was motivated in determining whether to enter into the agreement in question or not by mainly tax considerations, that this goes to show or maybe of assistance in showing, that he did not rely on the warranty as to the tapes being of merchantable quality. We regard that as a total non sequitur. The existence of one motive does not disprove the existence of another motive."2

"(T)here is, in my view, no valid basis for the above assumption which is in the nature of a non-sequitur."

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