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The World Law Dictionary Project

English may be the common language of the world, but the Common Law is not the common law of the world

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e.g. principle, consideration, jurisdiction
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lacuna noun


an empty space or gap in the law where no regulations apply
There are, in fact, some glaring lacunae in the existing provisions.

Hello, welcome to TransLegal's lesson of the week. I'm Robin and I'm going to talk about the word lacuna today. Now a lacuna is a gap or an empty space in the law. It was originally a Latin word meaning pit or hole and it was related to the word for lake or lagoon. It entered into usage in English in the middle of the 17th century but at that time it referred to a blank or a missing portion of a manuscript. Now these days it describes a situation where the law is silent, that is, where there are no regulations applicable or where there is an absent part in the law or another written document such as a contract. In other words, it describes an instance where there is no controlling law or contractual provision. Now it's more commonly used in British than American English, but lacuna is sometime synonymous with the word loophole or technicality which can be exploited to avoid the scope of a law or of a contract clause without directly violating or breaching the law or contract, that is, the lacuna allows you to circumvent or go around the intention of the drafters. Now the plural form, lacunae, is preferable to lacunas. Now we hear the term in several different contexts, the best one being, for instance, "that the question of dual citizenship is a legal lacuna in some jurisdictions". That means it is unregulated and there is no law which specifically describes the relationship to dual citizens. Okay, thank you for listening. I hope you will leave your comments in the box below.

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