Also found in: Dictionary.
From Latin, literally, "no goods," a writ returned by a sheriff or similar official to indicate that no goods were obtained that can be used to satisfy a legal action for debt or damages. A warrant of execution was issued to cover the cost of the judgment, but after a thorough search of the defendant's dwellings revealed no property of any substantial value, the sheriff was forced to return a write of nulla bona.
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.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.