Exceptio Probat Regulam

Exceptio Probat Regulam

Literal meaning:-

An exception proves the rule. 

Origin:- Republican Rome where it meant to be ‘The exception of a rules implies that there is a general rule in the first place’.

 Henry Watson Fowler- Cited that the presence of an exception applying to a specific case establishes (“proves”) that a general rule exists. As per him, more explicit phrasing might be “the exception that proves the existence of the rule.”

Tracing its origin, it is thought to have emerged from the legal phrase “exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis“, an argument attributed to Cicero in his defence of Lucius Cornelius Balbus. This argument states if an exception exists or has to be stated, then this exception proves that there must be some rule to which the case is an exception. The second part of Cicero’s phrase, “in casibus non exceptis” or “in cases not excepted,” is almost always missing from modern uses of the statement that “the exception proves the rule”, thus, creates confusion and gets misinterpreted

Also Read: Actus legis nemini facit injuriam


The best example of this legal maxim can be a signboard providing “Left turn prohibited’, it automatically & implicitly provides that taking a right turn or going straight is permitted.


 Case study:-

 Kashmir Motor Driver Association vs. Union of India, , AIR 1983 J K 100.

In the above-mentioned case, the principle ‘Exceptio probat regulam’ was used by the honourable High Court of Jammu & Kashmir. The Court here referred to the above maxim ‘Exceptio probat regulam, that is, an exception proves the concerning things not excepted.’

 Bhavani Amma vs. Madhavi Amma & Another,  1963 SCC.

Here, the honourable High Court of Kerala held its judgement relating to the interest of an individual that he has after the partition of property under the reference of the rule “Exceptio probat regulam de rebus non exceptis. (An exception proves the rule concerning things not excepted).

Also Read: Actus Non Facit Reum Nisi Mens Sit Rea

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