Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Omnis Innovatio Plus Novitate Perturbat Quam Utilitate Prodest Definition:

Latin: The disturbance resulting from an innovation is so great an evil as to outweigh any benefit that might arise from it.

Related Terms: Stare Decisis

The traditional reluctance of the judiciary to embrace change is exemplified in this Latin maxim, a favorite of Herbert Broom.

Consider these heavy words taken, in part, from Edwards v Tracy, and published in the Dickinson Law Review, and in the context of stare decisis:

".. nothing is truer or more important than the maxim omnis innovatio plus novitate perturbat, quam utilitate prodest .... The bulward of conservatism, the very ark of the covenant."

Thomas Millidge wrote of the maxim in the Canadian Law Times circa 1885:

"... before removing the landmarks of the law, it would be well to bear in mind the maxim of Lord Bacon: omnis innovatio plus novitate perturbat quam utilitate prodest.

"The disturbance resulting from an innovation is so great an evil as to outweigh any benefit that might arise from it."

omnis innovatio plus novitate perturbat, quam utilitate prodestHerbert Broom translated the maxim as follows:

"Every innovation occasions more harm and derangement of order by its very novelty, than benefit by its actual utility.

"It has been an ancient observation in the laws of England, that whenever a standing rule of law, of which the reason, perhaps, could not be remembered or discerned, has been wantonly broken in upon by statutes or new resolutions, the wisdom of the rule has in the end appeared from the inconveniences that have followed the innovation, and the wisdom of the judges and sages of the law has always suppressed new and subtle inventions in derogation of the common law."

REFERENCES:

  • Broom, Herbert, A Selection of Legal Maxims Classified and Illustrated, (London: Sweet & Maxwell Limited, 1939).
  • Edwards v Tracy, 62 Pa. 381 (1869)
  • Hutton, A.J. White, Problems in Partnership, 25 Dick. L. Rev. 108 (October 1920 to June 1921)
  • Millidge, Thomas, Judicial Developments of the Statute of Frauds, 5 C.L.T. 433 (1885)

 

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