CaseSnappy Blog

Crunching Concepts: Ex turpi causa non oritur actio

16 August 2023 | CaseSnappy Team

A motorbike parked in the road.


In this new addition to our 'Crunching Concepts' series, we delve into an intriguing legal principle - ex turpi causa non oritur actio. It's a Latin term, literally translated as "from a dishonourable cause an action does not arise", that plays a vital role in tort law, impacting how claimants may seek damages.

What is ex turpi causa non oritur actio?

Ex turpi causa non oritur actio is a legal principle asserting that an individual cannot successfully file a claim for damages if their injury stems from their own wrongful or immoral act. The central goal of this principle is to stop people from exploiting the legal system to reap benefits from their illegal or unethical actions.

Why is ex turpi causa non oritur actio Important?

This principle serves a pivotal function in:

1. Maintaining the integrity and public trust in the legal system by preventing wrongdoers from benefiting from their misconduct.

2. Establishing a profound understanding of public policy considerations, insisting that courts should not facilitate claimants whose injuries or damages were caused by their illegal or immoral actions.

3. Providing law students and practitioners with crucial insight into the limitations of legal remedies available in tort law and the exceptions to providing a remedy for a claimant.

Explaining ex turpi causa non oritur actio through Case Law

Through an example, ex turpi causa non oritur actio can become much easier to understand:

Pitts v Hunt [1991] 1 QB 24 - in this case, the claimant sought damages for injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident, in which both he and the defendant had been driving recklessly and under the influence of alcohol. The Court of Appeal held that his claim was barred by ex turpi causa, as it arose from his own criminal conduct.

CaseSnappy: Your Compass in the Legal Labyrinth

Comprehending complex concepts like ex turpi causa non oritur actio is essential for aspiring lawyers and law students. At CaseSnappy, we're dedicated to guiding you through these complicated principles with our detailed and discerning summaries.

Interested in bettering your understanding of perplexing legal idiosyncrasies? Join CaseSnappy for free now and get instant access to succinct explanations of crucial legal principles. Keep an eye out for our next instalment in the 'Crunching Concepts' series!

Become part of our ever-growing community by signing up below!

Get started
By using CaseSnappy, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.