In Limine Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is In Limine?

Latin word meaning ” at the threshold ” or “at the outset”. It is legal term used to pass a motion before the trial begins. Usually such motions are requested in order to remove any evidence which has been procured by illegal means or those that are objectionable by jury or which may make the jury bias.

History and Meaning of In Limine

In Limine is a Latin term that means "at the threshold" or "at the outset." It is a legal term referring to a pretrial motion made by either party to request the exclusion or inclusion of specific evidence or testimony that is expected to be presented during the trial. The purpose of the motion is to prevent the introduction of evidence that is irrelevant or unreliable, or that is obtained through illegal means. The concept of in limine traces its roots back to Roman Law, and the motion remains a fundamental part of modern-day legal practice.

Examples of In Limine

  1. In a criminal trial, the prosecutor may file an in limine motion requesting that the defense be barred from mentioning the victim's criminal record during the trial.

  2. In a civil lawsuit, the defendant may file an in limine motion to exclude the plaintiff's expert witness testimony on the grounds that the witness lacks the necessary qualifications to testify.

  3. A party may file an in limine motion to exclude evidence that was obtained through an unlawful search and seizure.

Legal Terms Similar to In Limine

  1. Motion in Limine: A pretrial motion requesting that the court exclude specific evidence or testimony.

  2. Hearsay: An out-of-court statement offered as evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.

  3. Admissibility: The quality of evidence that allows it to be presented to a judge or jury in a legal proceeding.