Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Mutatis Mutandis Definition:

Latin: with changes on points of detail.

Changing what has to be changed.

In Re McMahon, Justice Scheindlin of the United States District Court:

"Mutatis mutandis ... this Latin phrase simply means that the necessary changes in details, such as names and places, will be made but everything else will remain the same."

In R v Forrest, Justice Hinds adopted these words to define mutatis mutandis:

"... with the necessary changes in points of detail....

"(W)ith the necessary changes in points of detail, meaning that matters or things are generally the same, but to be altered when necessary, as to names, offices, and the like."

For example, to adapt a document to suit a minor change in a point of detail such as substituting one spouse for another. Or to apply a case to resolve another (stare decisis) which, though differing on points of detail to the case which sets the precedent, must surrender to the previously-set rule of law.


  • In re McMahon, 235 BR 527 (New York, 1998)
  • Mayrand, A., Dictionnaire de maximes et locutions latines utilisée en droit (Montreal: Editions Yvon Blais, 2007), pages 359-360
  • R v Forest, 8 C.C.C. (3d) 444 (BCSC, 1983)

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