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Diya Arvind   17 February 2022

legal maxim

Can you explain the use of the maxim "Ex Turpi Causa Non Oritur Action" with the help of some examples?


 1 Replies

Aarushi   17 February 2022

The maxim “Ex Turpi Causa Non Oritur Action” literally means that no action can arise from an illegal act. This means that a plaintiff cannot claim for damages when they themselves have committed an illegal act.  Here, the maxim of equity “One who comes to equity must come with clean hands” becomes utmost important and supplements the aforementioned maxim. This exempts the defendants from any legal liability and is known as the “plaintiff a wrongdoer” defence. Even if the defendant has not pleaded defence under this maxim, it is the duty of the Court to pay attention and see if this maxim is applicable and take an action with keeping this in mind. An essential for this maxim to be applied is that the defendant should be entirely responsible for the damage caused to the plaintiff.

I.T.C. Ltd. V. George Joseph Fernandes

In this case, the Supreme Court made it clear that if a person enters into a contract with an unlawful object in spite of knowing it, then they cannot claim for compensation when such contracts are not enforced.

Holman v. Johnson

The Court explained that this maxim prevents the plaintiff from getting any benefit from an unlawful act. The main aim is not to give any kind of benefit to the defendant, but rather to prevent the plaintiff from committing any illegal act.

Andronikou v. Mavropoulou

In this case, the plaintiff gave money to the defendant after knowing that the given money would be used for illegal purpose. The Court applied the defence of Ex Turpi Causa Non Oritur Action and held that no remedy can be provided to the plaintiff in such cases.

Kamarbai & Ors. v. Badrinarayan

The Bombay High Court held that for the defence under Ex Turpi Causa Non Oritur Action to be completely eliminated, the plaintiff has to make sure that his entire transaction is not fraudulent and them come to the Court demanding equity.


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