Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Sine Qua Non Definition:

Latin: without which, not.

Related Terms: But For, Causa Sine Qua Non

Ballentine's defines sine qua non as:

"Without which it is not. An indispensable prerequisite."

Sine qua non is an essential concept in the law of negligence.

As Justice Cady of the Court of Appeals of Iowa wrote in Sumpter v. City of Moulton:

"The test to determine the actual cause prong of causation is known as sine qua non; but for the defendant's conduct, the harm would not have occurred."

Or these words of Justice Murray Schwartz of the United States District Court (Delaware) in Clime v Dewey Beach:

"Delaware follows a but for or sine qua non rule of causation. Under this rule, the defendant's conduct is a cause of the event if the event would not have occurred but for that conduct; conversely, the defendant's conduct is not a cause of the event, if the event would have occurred without it."

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