Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Nemo Debet Locupletari Ex Aliena Jactura Definition:

Latin: no one should be enriched by another's loss.

Related Terms: Unjust Enrichment, Nemo Debet Bis Vexari Pro Una Et Eadem Causa

A principle of Roman law and, later civil law, which predates Justinian's Institutes of 533.

Wharton's Law Lexicon uses these words, although they seem limited to a maritime law context as set out in the Fletcher decision:

"No one ought to be enriched by another's disaster."

This doctrine of basic fairness permeates the justice system in almost all countries of the world in some form or another, depending on the evolution, limitations and contexts of the various legal systems. As stated by Justice Bovill in Fletcher:

"The general principle ... is acted upon in all Courts and in all countries but in its application, different countries have adopted different rules."

In countries with a common law tradition, nemo debet locupletari ex aliena jactura has evolved and formed the basis of the doctrine and remedy of unjust enrichment.


  • Fletcher v Alexander 18 Law Times, page 432 and also at Law Reports - Common Pleas Cases, Volume III, (1868)
  • Oppe, A., Wharton's Law Lexicon (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 1938), page 687.

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