Legal Dictionary

audi alteram partem

Legal Definition of audi alteram partem


    Latin Origin


  1. A principle of natural justice which prohibits a judicial decision which impacts upon individual rights without giving all parties in the dispute a right to be heard. Habeas corpus was an early expression of the audi alteram partem principle. In more recent years, it has been extended to include the right to receive notice of a hearing and to be given an opportunity to be represented or heard.


    Latin origin

Definition of audi alteram partem

Further reading

Audi alteram partem (or audiatur et altera pars) is a Latin phrase that means, literally, hear the other side.[1] It is most often used to refer to the principle that no person should be judged without a fair hearing in which each party is given the opportunity to respond to the evidence against him.[2]

"Audi alteram partem" is considered a principle of fundamental justice or equity in most legal systems. The principle includes the rights of a party or his lawyers to confront the witnesses against him, to have a fair opportunity to challenge the evidence presented by the other party, to summon one's own witnesses and to present evidence, and to have counsel, if necessary at public expense, in order to make one's case properly.

History of use

As a general principle of rationality in reaching conclusions in disputed matters, "Hear both sides" was treated as part of common wisdom by the ancient Greek dramatists.[3]

The principle was referred to by the International Court of Justice in the Nuclear Tests case, referring to France's non-appearance at judgment.[4]

Today, legal systems differ on whether individuals can be convicted in absentia.


  1. audi alteram partem: Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
  2. Audi alteram partem's entry in the legal dictionary
  3. e.g. Aeschylus, The Eumenides 431, 435
  4. Nuclear Tests, 1974 I.C.J. 265.


  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.


1.     warrant
2.     tampering
3.     emtio
4.     amnesty law
5.     magistrates court
6.     lex fori
7.     landed property
8.     lex situs
9.     lex causae
10.     ownership