The Law Dictionary

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SCIENTER Definition & Legal Meaning

Definition & Citations:

Lat, Knowingly. The term is used in pleading to signify an allegation (or that part of the declaration or in- dictment which contains it) setting out the defendant’s previous knowledge of the cause which led to the injury complained of, or rather his previous knowledge of a state of facts which it was his duty to guard against and his omission to do which has led to the injury complained of. The insertion of such an allegation is called “laying the action (or indictment) with a scienter.” And the term is frequently used to signify the defendant’s guilty knowledge. Scienti et volenti non fit injuria. Bract, fol. 20. An injury is not done to one who knows and wills it Scientia sciolorum est mixta ignoran- tia. 8 Coke, 159. The knowledge of smat- terers is diluted ignorance Scientia utrimque par pares contra- hentes facit. Equal knowledge on both sides makes contracting parties equal. 3 Burrows, 1905. An insured need not mention what the underwriter knows, or what he ought to know. Broom, Max. 772.


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