Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Pari Passu Definition:

Latin: Equitably and without preference.

This term is often used in bankruptcy proceedings where creditors are said to be pari passu which means that they are all equal and that distribution of the assets will occur proportionately but otherwise without preference between them.

The 3rd Edition of Mozley and Whiteley's Law Dictionary, the authors wrote of pari passu:

"On an equal footing or proportionately. A phrase used especially of the creditors of an insolvent estate who (with certain exceptions) are entitled to payment of their debts in shares proportioned to their respective claims."

In Merchant Bills, Justice Gibbs wrote that in the context of bankruptcy proceedings of a company, pari passu means:

"... that all stockholders were to be treated equally and all were to receive payment, at the same rate of moneys owing to them."


  • Merchant Bills Corp v Permanent Nominees 1972-3 ALR 565 (Australia)
  • West, L. and Neave, F., Mozley and Whiteley's Law Dictionary, 3rd Ed. (London: Butterworth & Co., 1908), page 236.

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