Why we need to know the law

Image source: slideshare.net

Have you ever heard of the phrase Ignorantia Legis Non Excusat?

It refers to a Latin legal maxim, which literally stands for “ignorance of the law is not an excuse.”

Like in other countries, we also follow this maxim.

In fact, it was even made part of our laws.

And you will find it in Article 3 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, which in turn says, “Ignorance of the law excuses no one from compliance therewith.”

But aside from its literal meaning, we also need to know the broader meaning of this maxim.

Knowing its broader meaning is of course essential given the legal effect it carries with it.

Remember that because of this maxim, we are conclusively presumed to know the law.

And so if you broke the law, you cannot escape liability by claiming you do not know it.

This holds true even if you later proved you really do not know it.

Now this gives us the simple yet broader meaning of the maxim, which as stated was made part of our laws.

And most important of all, it tells us why we all need to know the law at all times.

[References: Article 3 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, THELAW.com and Pages 15-16 of The Law on Obligations and Contracts (2014) by Hector S. De Leon and Hector M. De Leon, Jr]

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