Extra legem positus est civiliter mortuus – Legal Maxim

Literal Meaning

One out of the pale of the law (i.e. an outlaw) is civilly dead.


According to this legal maxim, a person who is a fugitive (a person who has escaped from captivity or is in hiding) is considered to be civilly dead. Civilly dead comes from Latin word–‘civiliter mortuus’. A person who is considered to be civilly dead loses of almost all the civil rights. Civil rights here refer to the rights that protect ‘individual’s freedom’. These rights protect individual’s freedom from infringement by social organizations, private individuals or government.

Indian Law Position: 

In Indian Law, the Section 14 of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act provides the following- Power to disallow civil claims.—Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force,—

  • on a declaration of an individual as a fugitive economic offender, any Court or tribunal in India, in any civil proceeding before it, may, disallow such individual from putting forward or defending any civil claim; and
  • any Court or tribunal in India in any civil proceeding before it, may, disallow any company or limited liability partnership from putting forward or defending any civil claim, if an individual filing the claim on behalf of the company or the limited liability partnership, or any promoter or key managerial personnel or majority shareholder of the company or an individual having a controlling interest in the limited liability partnership has been declared as a fugitive economic
  • Explanation.—For the purposes of this section, the expressions—
  • “company” means any body corporate and includes a firm, or other association of persons; and
  • “limited liability partnership” shall have the same meaning as assigned to it in clause (n) of sub-section (1) of section 2 of the Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008 (6 of 2009).20

Thus, it is clear that in Indian Law also a fugitive has no rights to make civil claims.




Take for example that ‘A’ robbed a bank and ran away to another country called ‘XYZ’. In such case he would be considered as a fugitive and thus would be declared civilly dead. Now in such case, he won’t be able to demand for his civil rights in any manner, as he is considered as a civilly dead person.

Case Reference

As the Fugitive Economic Offender Act is a new legislation, passed in the year of 2018, there are no case laws as such. But all those person who are considered to be Fugitive Economic Offenders under this act cannot make claims for their civil right.

Edited by Vigneshwar Ramasubramania

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje


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