Suum cuique tribuere

Suum cuique tribuere

To each one his due

This is one of the most famous Latin legal maxims. It is placed above the courthouse doors of many cities around the world, like in the picture above of Milan’s courthouse. The phrase comes from a lost work of the great Roman jurist Ulpian, the “Rules”. The relevant passage was included in the Digest of emperor Justinian, a handbook for Roman law students.

The passage comes from the beginning of the book and gives the basic definition of justice:

«Iustitia est constans et perpetua voluntas ius suum cuique tribuendi. Iuris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere

"Justice is the constant and perpetual desire to give to each one that to which he is entitled. This are the precepts of the Law: to live honestly, to harm no one, and to give to each one his due."

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