"Volenti Non Fit Injuria" Explained

Commercial Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto)

"Volenti Non Fit Injuria" Explained


By Brian Madigan LL.B.

The latin expression "volenti non fit injuria" means "no harm done if a person consents". It underlies the legal doctrine of the "voluntary assumption of risk".

Basically, it is a defence in tort law. If there is an action which causes injury, there is no claim if the injured party had given their consent. However, consent means "informed consent" by someone who fully appreciates the risks. So, if someone is injured bungee jumping, then they can't sue the proprietor. But, if the rope breaks, then they can sue. They accepted the ordinary risks of the event, not the unusual, unexpected, or unanticipated risks.

The risk of sports injuries follows this doctrine. There are highly publicized cases, which go beyond a sports injury. These are usually the consequences of a fight, or injuries outside the scope of the normal sporting event. In some cases, these actions can be criminal, and in that case, the doctrine of "volenti" does not apply because no one can consent to a crime.

There are circumstances where the application of the doctrine has been eroded. These are situations involving trespassers, passengers travelling in vehicles with drunk drivers and other similar circumstances.

The doctrine of "volenti non fit injuria" has limited application in the field of property, real estate and land law, except for tresspassing and occupiers' liability.

Brian Madigan LL.B., Real Estate Broker is an author and commentator on real estate matters, Royal LePage Innovators Realty


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John Grasty
for real estate results in the Tri-Cities. - Port Moody, BC
Your Tri-cities REALTOR, neighbour and volunteer.

Hi Brian,

Our licensing in Greater Vancouver is through the Sauder Business School at UBC, and the studies are broken down in to either finance or law.

In the manual used I found 16 latin phrases referenced, including your post subject. I have a short scribble beside it that reads, "the plaintiff came to the nuisance"; of course it means little to me now!

Do you have a list of the terms your posts have covered so far that I can reference?  If you do I'll compare it to the terms used in the manual and let you know which ones you haven't covered yet.

Take care.

Feb 08, 2010 03:37 AM #1
Brian Madigan
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto) - Toronto, ON
LL.B., Broker


Thanks very much. 


I do have a list of about 1,000 latin expressions that are used in law, at least to some extent.

However, there are only 50 or so that have any relevance to contracts, real estate and property.

So, if I really wanted to stick on this topic I have material for a post/day for 3 years.

In going through this, I have found that one source is often incorrect or inadequate. 


Feb 08, 2010 06:58 AM #2
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Brian Madigan

LL.B., Broker

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