Ex Officio Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Ex Officio?

a (ex oh-fish-ee-oh)dj. Latin for “from the office,” to describe someone who has a right because of an office held, such as being allowed to sit on a committee simply because one is president of the corporation.

History and Meaning of Ex Officio

Ex Officio is derived from Latin and translates into the English language as “by virtue of his office”. This legal term means that a person or entity has a right or power because of the position they hold or the office they occupy. For instance, if a person is the head of an organization or a department, he might be a member of a committee "ex officio" because of his position rather than by being elected to the committee.

Examples of Ex Officio

  1. If a company's CEO is on the board of directors, he would automatically be a part of all subcommittees as an "ex officio" member because of his position.
  2. Similarly, if the Chairman of a company is a trustee at a school or university, he would serve as an "ex officio" member on boards and other committees related to the school.
  3. In the case of the United States, the president of the Senate serves as an ex officio member of all senate committees.
  4. A sitting Justice of the Peace might serve as an ex officio magistrate judge, with the power to issue search warrants or hold hearings.
  5. A Governor might serve as the ex officio Patron of a charitable trust or society, by virtue of his position as Governor.

Legal Terms Similar to Ex Officio

  1. Ad Litem - a person appointed by a court to act in a lawsuit on behalf of an individual who is a minor or cannot represent himself/herself adequately.
  2. De Facto - meaning "in fact," refers to a situation that exists in reality or is true as far as can be judged from the current situation.
  3. Ex Parte - refers to a legal proceeding in which only one of the opposing parties is present or represented.
  4. Ex Post Facto - a law that retroactively changes the legal consequences of actions committed or relationships established before the law was implemented.
  5. Sua Sponte - a Latin term meaning "of its own accord," used in law to refer to a decision or action taken by a court or judge without a request or motion from either party involved.