Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Consuetudo Volentes Ducit, Lex Nolentes Trahit Definition:

Customs leads the willing, law drags the unwilling.

Related Terms: Common Law, Custom

Custom leads people in accordance with their will, while law often has to drag them against their will.

A Latin maxim, from Roman law.

James Ballentine's 1969 law dictionary:

"Consuetudo Volentes Ducit, Lex Nolentes TrahitCustom leads those who are willing. The law drags those who are unwilling."

The Latin maxim is defined in identical terms in Branch's 1824 law dictionary (First American edition), and again at page 274 of Raplje's 1888 law dictionary.


  • Branch, Thomas, Principia Legis et æquitatis, Being an Alphabetical Collection of Maxims, Principles or Rules, Definitions, and Memorable Sayings, in Law and Equity; Interspersed with Such Law Terms, and Latin Words and Phrases as Most Frequently Occur in the Study and Practice of the Law (Richmond: T. W. White, 1824), page 30.
  • Rapalje, Stewart and Lawrence, Robert L., Dictionary of American and English Law, with Definitions of the Technical Terms of the Canon and Civil Laws (Jersey City, New Jersey: Frederick D. Lynn, 1888), page 274.

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