Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Vigilantibus Et Non Dormientibus Jura Subveniunt Definition:

Latin: the law assists those that are vigilant with their rights, and not those that sleep thereupon.

Related Terms: Laches, Limitations or Statute of Limitations, Acquiescence, Estoppel, Equity

Also presented without the et and as vigilantibus non dormientibus jura inveniut.

Also vigilantibus et non dormientibus succurrunt jura.

A maxim of Roman law subsequently embraced by equity: the law comes to the assistance of those who are vigilant with their rights, and not those who sleep on their rights. For example:

"One of the vital principles of equity is that it will aid the vigilant."1

In Dalton, Justice Southin wrote:

"There is another maxim which applies here: vigilantibus et non dormientibus jura subveniunt, which is translated as the law aids the vigilant and not the indolent."

In Mehta, Justice Lampkin wrote of:

"... two maxims, one at common law and the other at equity: vigilantibus non dormientibus, jura subveniunt – the laws come to the aid of those who are vigilant, not those who sleep on their rights, which was the maxim at common law. And vigilantibus non dormientibus, aequitas succurritequity comes to the aid of those who are vigilant, not those who sleep on their rights, which was the maxim in equity and gave rise to the defence of laches in equity."

In Cox v Morgan (1801), Justice Heath mused:

"The maxim vigilantibus et non dormientibus succurrunt jura is one of those that we learn on our earliest attendance (in the Courts).

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