Hornbook Law Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Hornbook Law?

(n) Hornbook Law is the rule which establish that a principle, provision, references, inference, observation etc may not require further explanation or clarification when the very nature of them shows that they are basic and elementary in nature

History and Meaning of Hornbook Law

Hornbook law refers to a legal doctrine that states that certain principles are so well-established and fundamental that they require no further explanation. The term comes from an educational tool used in the colonial era - a hornbook was a flat wooden board with a handle, onto which a printed sheet was affixed with a transparent piece of horn. These hornbooks were used to teach basic reading and writing skills to children.

Hornbook law is similar to a legal truism, which is a statement that is self-evident or needs no proof. It is typically used in common law legal systems, where courts rely on precedents and established principles to make rulings.

Examples of Hornbook Law

  1. The principle that a landlord is not liable for injuries sustained by a tenant's visitor who is injured due to a dangerous condition caused by the tenant's own negligence is often considered hornbook law.
  2. The doctrine of res judicata, which holds that a final judgment on a matter precludes the parties from relitigating that matter, is another example of hornbook law.
  3. The principle that a person cannot be convicted of a crime without proof beyond a reasonable doubt is a fundamental principle of criminal law and is also considered hornbook law.

Legal Terms Similar to Hornbook Law

  1. Legal truism: A statement that is self-evident or needs no proof.
  2. Stare decisis: The legal doctrine of standing by decisions that have already been made.
  3. Black letter law: Settled legal principles that are widely established and easily recognized by legal practitioners.