De Facto Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of De Facto, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is De Facto?

latin for “in fact” or “in practice”. Used for such action for which no strict law or legal procedure or legal authority exist but a common universal practice does, which is taken as an standard. Contrasts with ‘de jure’

History and Meaning of De Facto

The term "De Facto" is derived from Latin, which means "in fact" or "in practice." It is commonly used to refer to something that is accepted as true or real based on actual circumstances, even if it is not formally recognized by law or authority. The origin of this term can be traced back to the Roman Empire. In modern times, it is widely used in legal and political contexts.

Examples of De Facto

  1. A couple who live together for many years without getting married are considered a De Facto couple.

  2. In some countries, an individual who has been living in the country for several years without proper documentation is considered a De Facto resident.

  3. An employee who continues to work for a company after their employment contract has expired is considered a De Facto employee.

Legal Terms Similar to De Facto

  1. De Jure: Latin term for "by law." It refers to a situation that is formally recognized by law or authority.

  2. Ad Hoc: Latin for "for this purpose." It refers to a situation or decision that is made specifically for a particular purpose or occasion.

  3. Prima Facie: Latin for "on the first appearance." It refers to a situation where something is presumed to be true or valid based on initial evidence or facts.