Per minas

Per minas

Literal Meaning

By means of menaces or threats.


This maxim refers to threat of loss of life. Duress per minas also means causing fear with threat of loss of limb or other harm to a person. In civil cases the rule as to duress per minas has a broader application at the present day than it formerly had.




Per minas is sometimes used to describe the defence of duress, as affecting the element of contract intent, mutual assent, or meeting of the minds.

Case References

Nandini Satpathy vs Dani (P.L), 1978 AIR 1025, 1978 SCR (3) 608

In the judgement of this case court mentioned that ‘Duress is where a man is compelled to do an act by injury, beating or unlawful imprisonment (sometimes called duress in strict sense) or by the threat of being killed, suffering some grievous bodily harm, or being unlawfully imprisoned (sometimes called menace, or duress per minas). Duress also includes threatening, beating or imprisonment of the wife, parent or child of a person.

Brown v. Pierce, 74 US 205 (1868)

In this case court mentioned that Text-writers usually divide the subject into two classes, namely, duress per minas and duress of imprisonment, and that classification was uniformly adopted in the early history of the common law, and is generally preserved in the decisions of the English courts to the present time.  And Second class, duress per minas as defined at common law, is where the party enters into a contract (1) For fear of loss of life; (2) For fear of loss of limb; (3) For fear of mayhem; (4) For fear of imprisonment; and many modern decisions of the courts of that country still restrict the operations of the rule within those limits.

Regina v. Gotts, [1991] 2 WLR 878

“Another species of compulsion or necessity is what our law calls duress per minas; or threats and menaces, which induce a fear of death or other bodily harm, and which take away for that reason the guilt of many crimes and misdemeanours; at least before the human tribunal. This however seems only, or at least principally, to hold as to positive crimes, so created by the laws of society; and which therefore society may excuse; but not as to natural offences, so declared by the law of God, wherein human magistrates are only the executioners of divine punishment. And therefore though a man be violently assaulted, and hath no other possible means of escaping death, but by killing an innocent person; this fear and force shall not acquit him of murder; for he ought rather to die himself, than escape by the murder of an innocent.”

Edited by Sree Ramya

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

Shivani Rani
I am Shivani Rani from Faculty of Law, Aligarh Muslim University,Aligarh pursuing BALLB(Hons.). Criminal law and personal laws of country attracts me the most. I like to read books mostly based on fictin and also like to watch suspense & thriller movies as well as crime thriller web series, in free time. I love to take part in moot court competitions as well as research study work. I am enthusiastic about exploring new places and listening music. I am kind of ambivert person i.e., not so introvert and not so extrovert.