Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Strictissimi Juris Definition:

Latin: the strictest letter of the law.

A process in which the rule of process shall be applied strictly or a document interpreted strictly.

In Service Employees International Union v. Brown, Justice Pepall of the Ontario Superior Court wrote this:

"[T]he doctrine of strictissimi juris ... means of the strictest right or law; to be interpreted in the strictest manner. This term was usually applied to certain statutes, especially those imposing penalties or restraining natural liberties."

In Parkes v Cintec, Justice Brodie of the Outer House, Court of Session (Scotland) explained the principle as follows, at ¶12:

"[S]trictissimi juris: the strictest letter of the law....[W]here a party avails himself of a privilege or of draconian powers as, for example, when a creditor proceeds to sequestrate his debtor, he must exercise the privilege or use the powers strictly in accordance with their terms, at risk of losing their benefit entirely should he fail to do so."

Guarantees are interpreted strictissimi juris to the undertaking of an ordinary guarantor.1

Criminal proceedings are the most obvious example but even in civil matter, strictissimi juris sometimes prevails, such as in contempt of court applications.

For example, note these words of Justice Bird in Claggett v. Claggett:

"A motion which affects the liberty of the subject is a matter strictissimi juris.... Strict compliance with that Rule is required."

At ¶3 of his decision in Gilewich v. Strand, Justice MacIntyre of the Court of Queen's Bench for Saskatchewan wrote:

"As the liberty of an alleged contemnor may be at stake, the court has invoked the doctrine of strictissimi juris requiring strict compliance with the Rules of Court and the procedural and evidentiary elements of a contempt application. Non-compliance with the Rules normally results in a motion for contempt being dismissed."

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