Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Vana Est Illa Potentia Quae Nunquam Venit In Actum Definition:

Latin: power is vain if never put into action.

Related Terms: Remainder

Branch translated this Latin maxim as:

"That power is nugatory which never comes into action."

Peloupet, in the 1884 edition of his book, rendered the Latin maxim as follows:

"Vain is that power which never comes into action."

In the second volume of his Reports, in the 1597 decision cited as Sir Hugh Chomley's Case, Edward Coke used the phrase as follows:

"For a remainder ought to vest in estate, during the particular estate, and ought to take efect in possession when the particular estate ends, for vana est illa potentia quæ nunquam venit in actum."


  • Branch, T., Principia Legis Et Aeuitatis: Being an Alphabetical Collection of Maxims, Principles or Rules, Definitions, and Memorable Sayings, in Law and Equity; Interspersed With Such Law Terms, and Latin Words and Phrases as Most Frequently Occur, in the Study and Practice of the Law (Richmond, VA: TW White, 1824)
  • Cholmey's Case, 2 Co. Rep. 50a; also at 76 ER 527 at page 530
  • S.S. Peloubet, S. S., A Collection of Legal Maxims in Law and Equity with English Translations (New York: S.S. Peloubet Law Publisher, 1884)

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