nulla poena sine lege

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nulla poena sine lege

From Latin, literally, "no penalty without law," a legal principle that a person cannot be punished for an action if that action is not prohibited by law. The company's lawyers successfully argued that their tax practices, however unsavory to the government, were not expressly prohibited by existing laws, and therefore the case against them should be thrown out on the principle of nulla poena sine lege.
See also: nulla, sine
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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