Define: Labes Realis Quae Rei Inhaeret

Labes Realis Quae Rei Inhaeret
Labes Realis Quae Rei Inhaeret
Quick Summary of Labes Realis Quae Rei Inhaeret

Labes realis quae rei inhaeret, a Latin term used in Scots law, refers to a real defect that is attached to a thing, meaning it cannot be separated from it. For example, if someone steals an object and sells it to another person, the new owner still has a labes realis in their possession. This means that even if they bought the object in good faith, the true owner can still reclaim it because the defect of theft is attached to the object. Another example is a property that has a legal dispute attached to it. If someone buys a property that is being disputed in court, they still have a labes realis in their possession, and the true owner can still reclaim it. Labes realis is a legal concept that protects the rights of true owners, ensuring that even if someone buys an object or property in good faith, they cannot keep it if there is a defect attached to it. This defect is a part of the thing and cannot be separated from it, as illustrated by the examples.

What is the dictionary definition of Labes Realis Quae Rei Inhaeret?
Dictionary Definition of Labes Realis Quae Rei Inhaeret

Labes realis quae rei inhaeret is a Latin phrase employed in Scots law to denote a real defect that is inherent in an object. This implies that even if an individual acquires something in good faith, if it was stolen, the rightful owner can still reclaim it as the defect persists until it is returned to their possession.

Full Definition Of Labes Realis Quae Rei Inhaeret

The term “Labes Realis Quae Rei Inhaeret” is a Latin phrase which translates to “a real defect which adheres to the thing.” This concept is central to various legal frameworks, particularly in the context of property law, contract law, and consumer protection. Understanding the legal implications of this phrase involves examining its historical roots, its application in contemporary legal systems, and its impact on the rights and responsibilities of parties in transactions involving goods and property.

Historical Context

Historically, the concept of “Labes Realis Quae Rei Inhaeret” can be traced back to Roman law, where the principle of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) prevailed. This principle placed the onus on the buyer to inspect and accept the goods being purchased, with limited recourse against the seller for defects unless expressly warranted. However, the recognition of inherent defects as a significant legal issue evolved over time, leading to more protective measures for buyers and consumers.

In medieval and early modern English law, the doctrine of implied warranties began to take shape, particularly in the sale of goods. This period saw the gradual shift from the strict application of caveat emptor to a more balanced approach, recognising that certain defects might not be discoverable upon reasonable inspection by the buyer. This evolution paved the way for modern statutory and common law protections against inherent defects.

Application in Property Law

In the realm of property law, “Labes Realis Quae Rei Inhaeret” is particularly pertinent when discussing defects in real property. Real property refers to immovable property such as land and buildings. Defects in real property can range from structural issues, such as subsidence or faulty foundations, to legal defects, such as undisclosed easements or zoning violations.

Structural Defects

Structural defects are physical issues that can significantly affect the value and usability of a property. Under English law, the seller of a property is generally not obligated to disclose such defects unless directly asked by the buyer. However, if the seller actively conceals a defect or misrepresents the condition of the property, the buyer may have a cause of action for misrepresentation or fraud.

Legal Defects

Legal defects pertain to issues with the title or legal status of the property. For example, a property may be subject to an easement that restricts its use or development. The Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989 in the UK requires sellers to provide accurate and complete information about the property’s legal status. Failure to disclose legal defects can lead to claims for breach of contract or misrepresentation.

Application in Contract Law

The principle of “Labes Realis Quae Rei Inhaeret” also plays a crucial role in contract law, particularly in contracts for the sale of goods and services. The Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the Consumer Rights Act 2015 are key legislative frameworks in the UK that address issues related to inherent defects in goods.

Sale of Goods Act 1979

The Sale of Goods Act 1979 implies certain terms into contracts for the sale of goods. These include the requirement that goods sold must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, and as described. A breach of these implied terms, such as the sale of goods with inherent defects, gives the buyer the right to reject the goods, claim a refund, or seek damages.

Consumer Rights Act 2015

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 further strengthens consumer protection by ensuring that goods must be of satisfactory quality, fit for a particular purpose, and match the description provided. The Act provides consumers with remedies such as repair, replacement, price reduction, or a refund in cases where goods are found to have inherent defects.

Consumer Protection

Consumer protection laws are designed to safeguard buyers from unfair practices and defective products. The concept of “Labes Realis Quae Rei Inhaeret” underpins many consumer protection measures, ensuring that consumers receive goods that are free from hidden defects.

Fitness for Purpose

Goods sold to consumers must be fit for the purpose for which they are bought. This means that a product should perform as expected for its intended use. If a product is found to have an inherent defect that renders it unfit for its intended purpose, the consumer is entitled to remedies under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

Satisfactory Quality

The requirement of satisfactory quality implies that goods should meet the standard that a reasonable person would regard as satisfactory, taking into account the price and description of the goods. Inherent defects that detract from the quality of the goods can give rise to claims for redress.

Liability and Remedies

The liability for inherent defects and the available remedies depend on the nature of the transaction and the relationship between the parties involved. In general, sellers and manufacturers are primarily responsible for ensuring that their products are free from defects.

Manufacturers’ Liability

Manufacturers are liable for defects that arise from the production process. This includes design defects, manufacturing defects, and inadequate instructions or warnings. The Consumer Protection Act 1987 imposes strict liability on manufacturers for defective products that cause personal injury or property damage.

Sellers’ Liability

Sellers are liable for ensuring that the goods they sell comply with the terms implied by the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the Consumer Rights Act 2015. If goods are found to have inherent defects, the seller must provide the consumer with appropriate remedies, such as repair, replacement, or a refund.

Professional Sellers vs. Private Sellers

The liability of professional sellers (businesses) is generally more extensive than that of private sellers. Professional sellers are expected to have greater knowledge and control over the quality of the goods they sell. In contrast, private sellers may have limited liability for defects unless they have misrepresented the goods or breached an express warranty.

Case Law

Several key cases illustrate the application of “Labes Realis Quae Rei Inhaeret” in English law. These cases provide valuable insights into how courts interpret and enforce legal provisions related to inherent defects.

Grant v. Australian Knitting Mills Ltd [1936] AC 85

In this landmark case, the plaintiff suffered from dermatitis caused by wearing woollen underwear that contained excess sulphites. The court held that the underwear was not fit for its intended purpose, and the manufacturer was liable for the inherent defect. This case established the principle that goods must be fit for purpose and free from harmful defects.

Clegg v. Olle Andersson (t/a Nordic Marine) [2003] EWCA Civ 320

This case involved the sale of a yacht with significant structural defects. The Court of Appeal held that the buyer was entitled to reject the yacht and receive a refund, as the defects rendered the yacht unsatisfactory and unfit for its intended purpose. The case reinforced the importance of satisfactory quality and fitness for purpose in contracts for the sale of goods.

Rogers v. Parish (Scarborough) Ltd [1987] QB 933

In this case, the plaintiff purchased a new Range Rover that was found to have multiple defects. The court ruled that the defects breached the implied terms of satisfactory quality and fitness for purpose, entitling the buyer to reject the vehicle and claim a refund. This case highlighted the significance of implied terms in protecting buyers from inherent defects.

Implications for Businesses and Consumers

The legal framework surrounding “Labes Realis Quae Rei Inhaeret” has significant implications for both businesses and consumers. Understanding these implications is essential for ensuring compliance with the law and protecting the rights of all parties involved.

Implications for Businesses

Businesses must ensure that the goods they manufacture and sell are free from inherent defects. This involves implementing robust quality control measures, providing accurate product descriptions, and adhering to legal requirements regarding warranties and representations. Failure to do so can result in legal liability, financial losses, and damage to reputation.

Implications for Consumers

Consumers benefit from legal protections that safeguard them against inherent defects. They have the right to expect that the goods they purchase will be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, and as described. If these expectations are not met, consumers can seek redress through various legal remedies, enhancing their confidence in the market.


“Labes Realis Quae Rei Inhaeret” is a fundamental concept in property law, contract law, and consumer protection. It addresses the issue of inherent defects in goods and property, ensuring that buyers and consumers are protected from hidden and undisclosed flaws. Through legislative frameworks such as the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the Consumer Rights Act 2015, as well as key case law, the legal system provides robust mechanisms for addressing and remedying the presence of inherent defects. For businesses, compliance with these legal requirements is crucial to avoid liability and maintain consumer trust. For consumers, these protections ensure that their rights are upheld and they receive goods that meet their reasonable expectations.

Labes Realis Quae Rei Inhaeret FAQ'S

Labes Realis Quae Rei Inhaeret is a Latin term that translates to “a real defect inherent in the thing.” It refers to a legal concept where a defect or flaw is inherent in a product or property.

– This concept is often used in product liability cases, where a defect in a product causes harm to the consumer. It can also be relevant in property law cases where a defect in the property causes harm to the owner or occupant.

– Examples include a car with a manufacturing defect that causes an accident, a defective medical device that harms a patient, or a food product contaminated with harmful substances.

– A consumer can prove this by providing evidence of the defect, such as expert testimony, product testing results, or documentation of similar incidents involving the same product.

– In property law, this concept can be used to hold a seller or landlord liable for defects in the property that cause harm to the buyer or tenant.

– A property owner can prove this by providing evidence of the defect, such as inspection reports, expert testimony, or documentation of the harm caused by the defect.

– Remedies may include compensation for damages, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

– Defenses may include lack of evidence of the defect, contributory negligence on the part of the plaintiff, or the expiration of the statute of limitations.

– Labes Realis Quae Rei Inhaeret focuses specifically on the inherent defect in a product or property, while negligence and strict liability focus on the actions or responsibilities of the parties involved.

– If you believe you have a case based on this concept, it is important to consult with a qualified attorney who can evaluate your situation and advise you on the best course of action.

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This site contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. Persuing this glossary does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

This glossary post was last updated: 10th June 2024.

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