Ubi Jus bi remedium

Literal Meaning:

  • Where there is no wrong there is a remedy or it means whenever there is a legal right there is a remedy.

Explanation or Major Elements of the Maxim:

  • This maxim is applicable when the ‘Legal Rights’ exist and both the ‘no wrong’ and remedy should be legal.
  • A wrongful act must have been done which violated legal rights clearly.
  • If there is no legal damage (injuria) this maxim is not applicable. Then the maxim ‘damnum sine injuria’ is applicable.
  • This maxim can only be used when the law does not provide either any relief or sufficient relief. The court of law cannot reject an application seeking justice for violation of right, simply because there is no formal recognition or provision of remedy. Its the duty of the court of law to find a remedy in such case.

Limitations of the Maxim:

  • If there is no legal damage (injuria) this maxim is not applicable.
  • It is not applicable in all cases. Particularly in case of moral or ethical or some political wrongs or moral Rights this maxim is not applicable. In such cases, the action cannot be taken.
  • There is no remedy for the breach of a solemn promise not made under seal or without any consideration.
  • No action lies for a public nuisance unless the plaintiff proves that he has suffered more injury than suffered by other members of the society.

Juris Remark: By Justice Stephan:

  • “The maxim would be more intelligible and correctly stated if it is reversed to say that where there is no legal remedy there is no legal wrong.

Case Laws Explaining Use of Maxim Ubi Jus bi remedium :

Cases where the maxim is applied:

Case – 1: Ashby v/s White (1703) 2 Raym Ld. 938

Facts:

  • It is a leading English case. Ashby (the plaintiff) tendered his vote in the parliamentary election. The returning officer at the polling booth named White (the defendant) refused to register the plaintiff’s vote. The plaintiff was a legitimate citizen of the constituency and a qualified voter. The vote tendered by the plaintiff was in the favour of the candidate who won the election.

Legal Proceedings:

  • The plaintiff filed a petition with a plea that being a qualified voter his vote was not registered. Hence he should get compensation from the defendant.
  • The plea of the defendant was that the plaintiff’s non-registered vote was in the favour of the candidate who won the election and thus there is no damage (injury) to him.
  • Court held that the vote tendered by the plaintiff was in the favour of the candidate who won the election. Thus there is no actual loss (damage) to the plaintiff but his legal right of voting was violated by the defendant. To disallow a qualified voter to register his vote was a civil wrong and hence the plaintiff had the right to have a remedy in the court of the law.
  • The maxim ubi Jus bi remedium prevailed in the court and compensation was offered to the plaintiff.

Case – 2: D.K. Basu v/s State of West Bengal AIR 1997 SC 610

  • Mr. D. K. Basu, the Executive Chairman, of Legal Aid Services, West Bengal, a non-political organisation registered under the Societies Registration Act, on 26.08.1986 addressed a letter (a postcard) to the Chief Justice of India drawing his attention to certain news items published in newspapers namely, The Indian Express and The Telegraph regarding deaths in police lock-ups and custody.
  • The Supreme Court issued 11 guidelines to be followed during the arrest of an accused person.
  • The Court further held that mere declaration of invalidity of an action (custodial torture) which is a legal wrong does not provide any remedy to the victim or the kins of the victim on the death of the victim. Only a punishment to guilty is not sufficient. To file a civil suit for compensation is a long and tedious process. Compensation to the victim or to the next keen in case of death of the victim must be made. Quantum of compensation should be by case. Emphasis should be on compensation than punishment

Cases where the maxim is not applied:

Case – 1: Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation v/s Nawab Khan Gulab Khan AIR 1997 SC 152:

Facts:

  • A pavement dweller Nawab Khan Gulab Khan (the plaintiff) had encroached and had an unauthorized occupation on the footpaths on the main road in Ahmedabad. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation sought to demolish these encroachments without giving any notice to the encroachers.

Legal Proceedings:

  • The writ petition was filed by the plaintiff. His plea was that the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has sought to remove the encroachment without giving them an opportunity of being heard.
  • High Court had given the judgment in the favour of Nawab Khan Gulab Khan that their plea should be accepted and he has the right of being heard. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation appealed in the Supreme Court.
  • The Supreme Court held that encroachment is an illegal act and to encroach is not a legal right of the plaintiff and hence the plaintiff has no right to ask for a remedy. The petitioner cannot demand compliance with the principles of natural justice.
  • The plea of Nawab Khan Gulab Khan was rejected and the petition was dismissed.

Case – 2: Munster v/s Lamb : 11 Q.B.D. 588

  • The principle was illuminated in this case is “For justice to be achieved, it is important that lawyers are uninhibited in their courtroom advocacy”.
  • In this case, both the claimant and defendant were themselves, lawyers. During the trial of people accused of burgling his Brighton home, the defendants’ solicitor, Lamb, suggested that Munster kept drugs in his home for immoral purposes. Munster later sued him for defamation.
  • Court held that Munster wasn’t entitled to damages as Lamb’s statement was made by a lawyer within the bounds of the privilege extended to the advocates and the words uttered by the defendant are only for a judicial inquiry. Hence the maxim does not hold good in this case.

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