Duhaime's Law Dictionary

In Terrorem Definition:

Latin: in terror, fright, threat or warning.

Something, such as a clause in a document, which seeks to intimidate a person to do or not do a certain thing.

A classic example is a a deceased husband's will which provides that the widow receives her share only if she remains a widow.

In Latin For Lawyers:

"In apprehension, fright or fear.

"A clause or provision, usually in a lease, deed or will which is intended by the maker of the instrument to induce or coerce someone into not taking some action, (such) as not to contest a will provision.

"For example, a testator may provide that a gift will be forfeit if the recipient contests the will.

"In most jurisdictions, provisions of this kind are unenforceable as against public policy. They are always unenforceable if the action they try to force or induce is illegal or impossible."


  • Duhaime, Lloyd, Do Not Contest: Wills That Retaliate
  • Duhaime, Lloyd, Wills and Estate Law
  • Emanuel, L., Latin For Lawyers (Larchmont, NY: Emanuel Publishing Group, 1999)
  • Leong v Chye 1955 All ER 903
  • Mayrand, A., Dictionnaire de Maximes et Locutions Latines Utilisées en Droit, 4th Ed. (Montreal: Editions Yvon Blais, 2006)

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