non liquet

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[Latin: it does not appear clear]

An instance in which statute and previous case law seem to produce no clear legal answer to a new legal problem. In theory, a non liquet can never occur in English law: if not statute law, then certainly English common law, will provide an answer to any new legal problem that might emerge. Therefore, English judges are bound to give a decision in every case competently submitted to them. In practice non liquets do exist in English law, as they do in every other legal system.

Subjects: Law.

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