Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Summa Ratio Est Quae Pro Religione Facit Definition:

Latin: The best rule is that which advances religion.

Related Terms: God, Theocracy

In Latin for Lawyers, the unnamed author(s) translates summa ratio est quae pro religione facit by:

"The highest rule is that which advances religion."

The American law doictionary prepared by James Ballentine prefers:

"The highest reason is that which makes for religion."

According to Broom, this Latin maxim was recognized at least as early as Papinian and later by the English jurist Edward Coke.

It has been used by the court to cut-down any statute or customs which, in the mind of the particular judge(s), runs contrary to God, religion or so-called divine law.

This maxim is nonger applicable in almost all common law or civil law jurisdictions but it is, although not under such a name, very much in force in theocracies which, circa 2011, and other than the Vatican, include mostly just orthodox Muslim states.


  • Ballentine, James, Ballentine's Law Dictionary, 3rd Ed. (Rochester: The Lawyers Co-operative Publishing Company, 1969).
  • Broom, Herbert, A Selection of Legal Maxims Classified and Illustrated, 10th Ed., (London: Sweet & Maxwell Limited, 1939), pages 11-13
  • Latin for Lawyers, 3rd Ed. (London: Sweet & Maxwell Limited, 1960), page 231.

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