Legal Maxim : Actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea

Author : Tanvi Gupta

Actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea is a Latin maxim meaning an accused cannot be held guilty without criminal intent. Generally, any act has two intents physical and mental intent i.e. actus rius and mens rea.

An act of the accused combined with an intention to specific criminal wrong proves him guilty. The exception to the act where mens rea is not relevant is “strict liability”.

This maxim has been explained under section 14 of the Evidence Act,1872. This maxim tries to differentiate between intentional and unintentional criminal acts to further decide the amount of punishment.