Latin Legal Terms


Culpa – this Latin noun literally means fault, blame; mistake. In practice (usually in the sphere of Tort Law), the word relates to the legal term “mea culpa” that means “my mistake” and acknowledges personal fault in proper performance of something (and respectively the liability for damages).
The word “culpa” also participates in the legal maxim “Poena non potest, culpa perennis erit”, applicable in the sphere of Criminal Law. This legal maxim means that a punishment cannot be eternal (i.e. it is usually for concrete term after expiration of which the criminal has to become again part of the society), but the consequence (i.e. the outcome) of the crime or the guilt may last forever.
The word participates also in the legal term “culpa lata”, applicable in the area of Tort Law and in Law of Contracts, where it refers to serious, hug negligence that has led to delict, and respectively to punishable and compensational damages against the wrongdoer. The “cupla lata” could be done as a breach of contract or alternatively as delict.

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