This article has been written by Tanya Gupta, a student pursuing BA LLB from Ideal Institute of Management and Technology and School of Law, affiliated to Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi. 

This article focuses on the meaning of maxim “Ubi jus ibi remedium” and its related case laws.

INTRODUCTION

Does everyone get the remedy? 

No, everyone does not get remedy. The person gets the remedy when his rights are violated, the victim will have an equitable remedy under law.

Meaning

This concept is based on the Latin maxim “Ubi jus ibi remedium” which means ‘for every wrong law provides a remedy.’ This maxim also states that the person whose right is being infringed has a right to enforce the infringed right through any action before a court.

According to the law dictionary, it is defined as “where there is a right, there is a remedy”.

Maxim consists of two words jus and remedium.

 Jus signifies ”the legal authority to do or to demand something’ and remedium may be defined to be ‘the right of action, or means given by law for the recovery or assertion of a right.’

Now, the question arises that does the person get a remedy when all rights are infringed?

No, the person does not get a remedy, when all his rights are infringed. 

Yes, this is true that this maxim contemplates that where there is a right, there is a remedy. But the maxim does not mean, as it is sometimes supposed, that there is a legal remedy for moral or political wrong. The maxim means that legal wrong and legal remedy are co-relative terms; for every legal wrong, there is a legal remedy.

 So, it is clear from the above discussion that this maxim has some exceptions.

 Let’s discuss the exceptions of this maxim:

  1. If there is a breach of moral rights only
  2. If the right and remedy both were within the jurisdiction of the Common law Courts.
  3. Where due to his own negligence party either destroyed or allowed to be destroyed, the evidence in his own favour or waived his right to an equitable remedy.
  4. This maxim does not apply in case of public nuisance unless and until a plaintiff shows that he suffered more injury than other members or people in society.

Applicability: Maxim

This maxim applicable in such a situation:

  1. The law of torts

Tort is a civil wrong for which the remedy is a common law action for unliquidated damages, and which is not exclusively the breach of a contract, or, the breach of a trust, or other merely equitable obligation. 

  1. Section 9, Code of Civil Procedure,1908

It entitles a civil court to entertain all kinds of suits unless they are prohibited.

  1. Specific Relief Act

It provides for equitable remedies like specific performance of contract, injunction and declaratory suits.

Let’s discuss what ingredients are required so that the maxim ‘Ubi jus ibi remedium” prevails and the person gets the remedy.

Essential: Maxim

  1. It can be applied only where the right exists and there must be the existence of legal right.
  2.  This maxim can be used only when sufficient relief has not been provided by the Court to the person who sustained the injury.
  3. There must be infringement of legal rights.

Case Laws

Leo Feist v. Young, 1943

In this case, The Circuit Court of Appeals of the United States of America, observed that “it is elementary that there is no wrong without a remedy.” 

Maretti v Williams, 1930

FACTS: the defendant was the owner of the bank, and the plaintiff had an account in the same bank.  Plaintiff had sufficient funds in his account and when plaintiff went to the bank to honor the cheque, the defendant refused to honor cheque to him.

HELD: The court held that the defendant is liable for the loss caused to the plaintiff. The court applied the maxim “Ubi jus ibi remedium” as the plaintiff’s legal right was violated and the defendant were liable to pay damages.

Ashby v White, 1703

FACTS: the defendant, a reputed officer in a parliamentary election. The plaintiff was a qualified voter and he was detained from giving a vote in a parliamentary election by the defendant. Although, the plaintiff did not suffer any loss by his refusal because the candidate to whom he wanted to vote had won the election.

CONTENTION: the plaintiff contended that he was detained from giving a vote and his right to vote was infringed and also claimed a certain amount of compensation for the damage to him.

HELD: The court held that no damage or injury was caused as the candidate to whom the plaintiff wanted to vote had won the election but his right to vote was violated. The court applied the maxim “Übi jus ibi remedium”. Holt C.J. said,” every injury imports a damage though it does not cost the party one farthing”. So, the defendant was held liable to pay the damages to the plaintiff.

Bhim Singh v State of Jammu and Kashmir, AIR 1986 SC 494

FACTS: the petitioner Bhim Singh, MLA of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly was illegally detained by the police while he was going to attend the Assembly Session and was thus prevented from exercising his legal right to attend the assembly. He was not presented before the magistrate in time and had a legal right to attend the meeting.

CONTENTION: The plaintiff contended that he was illegally detained by the police and his fundamental right under article 21, Constitution of India was also violated. He claimed a certain amount of compensation for the damage awarded to him.

HELD: The Apex Court held that the plaintiff’s fundamental right under article 21, was violated and he had a legal right to attend the session but he was illegally detained by police.  The court held that defendants were liable to pay the amount of Rs. 50,000 as compensation to the petitioner for the infringement of his fundamental rights.

CONCLUSION

“Ubi jus ibi remedium” is Latin maxim means ‘where there is right, there is remedy’. But it is clear from the above discussion, that the person only gets the remedy when his legal right has been infringed. If there is infringement of a person’s legal right, then the defendant held liable to pay the amount for the damage as compensation. Justice Pallock said that right and wrong are contrary to each other. It means right actions are those which are prescribed by moral rules, wrong action are those which are not prescribed by moral rules or which are prohibited by law.

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