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Sui Generis vs Sui Juris - Meaning in Law with Examples

Sui Juris

Sui juris is a phrase, which you may have noticed in different legal documents. It is originally a Latin term.

1) Sui means "self". Juris means "of law".

2) Sui juris, in short, means "of one's own right". Example: His own right. Her own right.

3) When a person becomes legally competent to manage his own affairs, when he does not mandatorily need his parents or his legal guardian to manage his affairs or to enter into contracts, then he can be considered as sui juris.

4) Generally, a person becomes sui juris after attaining the age of majority, which is 18 years in many countries. The age benchmark differs from country to country.

5) However, when a minor, who is under the age of 18 years, who is emancipated from his parents/guardian through the process of law, then he can also be considered as sui juris.

6) Sui juris also means "Of having full legal capacity". A person becomes sui juris when he is not under the legal disability to act on his own behalf.

7) A person is not to be considered as sui juris even if he is a person who has attained the age of majority in case either he is a bankrupt or he is not of sound mind i.e. if he has any major mental disability.

8) A person is to be considered as sui juris if under the law he is capable of suing and/or being sued in any lawsuit in his own name without the need of an ad litem (a court appointed representative).

9) The opposite term for sui juris is "alieni juris", which means a person is under the legal authority or control of another person viz. a minor having a guardian or parent(s).

10) Example sentences: (a) Shawn is 22 years old now. He is not a minor anymore. He is a sui juris man now. He can do whatever he wants to do in his life without taking prior permission from his parents. (b) Sui juris persons in our locality are leaving their parents homes and are becoming more independent these days.

Sui Generis

Sui generis is a Latin term that is used in different legal writings to denote its unique meaning and expression.

1) In Latin,— Sui means "self". Generis means "kind".

2) When you combine the two words into a phrase or expression, it means (i) Of its own kind, (ii) Something that is unique in its traits, (iii) Unique in a class of its own.

3) Sui generis, in the legal arena, refers to things that are unique, which are confined to their own facts and circumstances, that is to say, which does not belong to a wider genus.

4) Sui generis in international law refers to crucial situations which are distinct and which cannot be categorized under any existing legal frameworks. Sui generis systems allow the development of adaptive legal responses to emerging global issues and unprecedented challenges. Example: Issues relating to the internet, social media and data privacy.

5) Sui generis rights have implications in intellectual property rights - conferring exclusive rights to the distinct nature of certain works. It refers to a special protection regime that aims to cover areas outside the standard IPR categories like trademark, copyright and patents. For example - Plant breeder's rights, Database rights, Traditional knowledge.

6) Sui generis in (immovable) property law: When it comes to immovable properties like land and building, they get special legal treatments in some countries. Example: In the UK, in order to obtain town planning permission - each category is treated differently like showrooms, theaters, scrap yards, petrol stations, embassies and consulates, nightclubs, amusement arcades, hostels and other sui generis cases.

7) Sui generis in case of personal movable assets: Certain movable assets or tangibles warrant sui generis legal status. For example - human organs for transplant, animals as pets, cultural artifacts, body remains after death, etc.

8) Sui generis in case of intangibles: Intangibles like digital currencies, virtual goods, financial instruments, digital assets, etc. attract sui generis legal systems. They deserve customized legal treatment because of their unique traits.

9) The opposite term for sui generis is "ejusdem generis". It means "of the same kind". Where in a statute, there are words of specific meaning followed by words of general meaning, then the meaning of the general words must be construed as being limited to things of the same kind as particularized by the specific words.

10) Example sentences:

  • (a) He went on to a prominent career as a sui generis oceanographer.
  • (b) Michelangelo was a sculptor sui generis, whose marble sculptures are quite famous in the world.
  • (c) The High Court clarified that the proceedings of contempt of court is sui generis. It is not strictly controlled by the provisions of the Evidence Act.