Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Causa Sine Qua Non Definition:

An intervening cause of loss which, though not direct, may nonetheless contribute to the loss.

Related Terms: Causa Causans, Causation, But For, Sine Qua Non

Ballentine defines causa sine qau non as follows:

"A cause without which the thing would not have happened. A cause which if it had not existed, the injury would not have been sustained."

Traditionally distinguished from causa causans.

In Hayes, Justice Matthews of the United States Supreme Court wrote:

"[C]ausa sine qua non, a cause which if it had not existed, the injury would not have taken place, an occasional cause....

In Smith Hogg, Justice Wright bemoaned the use of such Latin maxims in the course of judicial proceedings and reluctantly remarked:

"Causa causans ... (means) a cause which causes while causa sine qua non means ... a cause which does not, in the sense material to the particular case, causa, but is merely an incident which precedes in the history of narrative of events, but as a cause in not in at the death and hence is irrelevant."


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