Malum In Se Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Malum In Se?

(n) Malum In Se are the activities which are wrong by its very nature which does not require any specific detailing or definition in the law to consider them as a crime. Malum In se are the acts which apparently violates the human rights as murder, rape of minors etc. The Latin word (mal-uhm in say) means ‘wrong in itself’.

History and Meaning of Malum In Se

Malum In Se is a legal term that originated from the Latin language. The term 'malum in se' means 'wrong in itself' or 'evil in itself' and refers to acts that are inherently wrong, regardless of whether they are illegal or not. These acts are thought to be wrongful because they go against common morality and basic human decency. For instance, murder, rape, and theft are considered malum in se offenses because they are wrong not because they are proscribed by criminal law but because they are morally wrong.

In legal terms, malum in se offenses are treated more seriously than malum prohibitum offenses because they are viewed as more injurious to society. This means that punishments for malum in se crimes are often harsher than those for malum prohibitum offenses.

Examples of Malum In Se

  1. Murder - taking the life of another person is viewed as inherently wrong and against basic human morality.
  2. Rape - sexual assault is another type of offense that is viewed as malum in se.
  3. Child abuse - actions that intentionally harm children physically, emotionally, or mentally are malum in se offenses.
  4. Arson - burning down someone's property intentionally regardless of whether the property is occupied or not is an act that is inherently wrong.

Legal Terms Similar to Malum In Se

  1. Malum prohibitum - this term refers to activities that are prohibited by law but are not inherently wrong, such as traffic violations or jaywalking.
  2. Felony - a serious offense that is malum in se in nature and punishable by imprisonment for more than one year.
  3. Misdemeanor - a less serious offense that is often viewed as malum prohibitum in nature and is punishable by a fine or jail time for less than one year.