Non Sequitur Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Non Sequitur?

A latin term meaning “it does not follow” which means that a logical conclusion was not arrived without following the leagal facts.The events that occurred earlier in connection with the case were not taken ino consideration before taking the decision.

History and Meaning of Non Sequitur

The term "Non Sequitur" has its origins in Latin, and it translates to "it does not follow." In a legal context, the term refers to a logical fallacy where a conclusion is made that does not stem from the premises that were presented. This sort of reasoning is often mistakenly used by lawyers in court in an effort to throw off their opponent or reach an illogical conclusion. Although this is an improper form of argument, it does happen from time to time in legal arguments.

Examples of Non Sequitur

  • "My client would never commit such a heinous crime. He loves his mother and wouldn't want to hurt her feelings." (The defense attorney has introduced irrelevant information not connected with the crime being discussed.)

  • "The defendant is not guilty because the prosecutor is from the wrong political party." (The defense attorney is trying to shift attention from the defendant's crime to something else completely unrelated.)

  • "My client didn't steal the watch. He's a doctor and has saved many lives." (The defense attorney is trying to use the defendant's profession to distract from the crime being discussed.)

Legal Terms Similar to Non Sequitur

  • Argumentum ad Baculum: This term refers to an argument that uses threats or intimidation to coerce a specific decision. It is an argument that relies on fear, rather than on logic or reason.

  • Argumentum ad Hominem: This term refers to a fallacy in which an individual attacks the character, motive, or other personal attributes of someone who is advancing an argument, rather than addressing the substance of the argument itself.

  • Ignoratio Elenchi: Refers to an argument that is irrelevant or not related to the topic being discussed.

  • Red Herring: This term is used to describe a distraction from the issue being debated, by introducing an irrelevant issue.