Voluntas in delictis non exitus spectatur

Voluntas in delictis non exitus spectatur

Literal Meaning

In offences the intent and not the result is looked at.

Explanation & Origin

Latin, meaning In offences the intent and not the result is looked at.

According to Black’s Law dictionary this maxim means that in an offence it is the will and outcome is regarded.

The question of intend runs through act of criminal nature.

In maleficiis voluntas spectatur, non exitus is a Latin maxim. This maxim is seen applies in criminal cases. It denotes that, in criminal offenses, the intention is regarded, not the result.


A threw a stone against a wall among a crowd of people in order to threaten them without intend to kill , but whereby , nevertheless one was killed. It was adjudged to be manslaughter only.

Case Reference

Holmes V. Mather [(1857) L.R. 10 Ex. 261]

In this case the defendant’s horse were driven by his servant on the public highway. The horses were so startled by the barking of a dog and became unmanageable to control them. They knocked down the plaintiff. It was held that the defendant not liable as he has no intention to injure plaintiff and it was an inevitable accident.

Hammer Smith Rail Co. V. Brand [(1869) L.R.H.L. 171]

In this case the value of plaintiff’s property held considerably depreciated due to noise , vibration and smoke caused by the running of trains on a railway constructed under statutory powers. The damage being necessarily incidental to the running of trains , authorized by the statute , it was held that no action lies for the same.

Edited by Vigneshwar Ramasubramania

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

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