Law is not concerned with small details

De minimis means "belongs to the minimum" in Latin, [1][2] usually quoted in fully as "de minimis non curat praetor" -- which means the law does not deal with trivial things -- or "de minimis non curat lex." [3][4][5] The phrase dates back to the 15th century.[6] In essence, the phrase means that, at certain low levels, the amount of injury or damage involved is considered so insignificant that it may be ignored.[7]The law ignores insignificant details.[8] The law does not take account of trifles. It will not, for example, award damages for a trifling nuisance.[9]

The law does not concern itself with trifles. This is a principle of law that states that, even if a technical violation of a law appears to exist according to the letter of the law, if the effect is too small to be of consequence, the violation of the law will not be considered as a sufficient cause of action, whether in civil or criminal proceedings.[10]

The “de minimis” doctrine comes from the Latin maxim de minimis non curat lex, which means “the law does not concern itself with trifles.” The maxim suggests that technicalities must yield to practical common sense and justice so as to avoid expensive litigation.[11]

[1] "De Minimis - Definition, Examples, Cases, Processes". Legal Dictionary. 2017-06-03. Retrieved 2021-04-08.

[2] "Definition of de minimis |". Retrieved 2021-04-08.

[3] Ehrlich, Eugene (1987) [1985]. Amo, Amas, Amat and More. New York: Harper Row. p. 100. ISBN 978-0-06-272017-7.

[4] Garner, Bryan A. (editor-in-chief) (1999). Black's Law Dictionary (7th ed.). St. Paul, Minnesota: West Publishing. p. 443.

[5] Walter Keating Kelly (1869), A Collection of the Proverbs of All Nations. 

[6] Max L. Veech & Charles R. Moon, "De Minimis Non Curat Lex", 45 Michigan Law Review. 537, 538 (1947) (quoting Thomas Branch, Principia Legis et Æquitatis 36 (William Waller Hening ed., T. H. White, 4th London ed. 1824)).


[8] Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). De minimis non curat lex. In dictionary. Retrieved September 26, 2021, from

[9] A Dictionary of Law (7 ed.). Jonathan Law and Elizabeth A. Martin Publisher: Oxford University Press. Published online: 2009. Current Online Version: 2014eISBN: 9780191726729.



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