Ex post facto law
Ex post facto Ex" post` fac"to, or ||Ex postfacto Ex" post`fac"to ([e^]ks" p[=o]st" f[a^]k"t[-o]). [L., from what is done afterwards.] (Law) From or by an after act, or thing done afterward; in consequence of a subsequent act; retrospective.

{Ex post facto law}, a law which operates by after enactment. The phrase is popularly applied to any law, civil or criminal, which is enacted with a retrospective effect, and with intention to produce that effect; but in its true application, as employed in American law, it relates only to crimes, and signifies a law which retroacts, by way of criminal punishment, upon that which was not a crime before its passage, or which raises the grade of an offense, or renders an act punishable in a more severe manner that it was when committed. Ex post facto laws are held to be contrary to the fundamental principles of a free government, and the States are prohibited from passing such laws by the Constitution of the United States. --Burrill. --Kent. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • ex post facto law — n: a civil or criminal law with retroactive effect; esp: a law that retroactively alters a defendant s rights esp. by criminalizing and imposing punishment for an act that was not criminal or punishable at the time it was committed, by increasing …   Law dictionary

  • ex post facto law —       law that retroactively makes criminal conduct that was not criminal when performed, increases the punishment for crimes already committed, or changes the rules of procedure in force at the time an alleged crime was committed in a way… …   Universalium

  • Ex post facto law — An ex post facto law (from the Latin for after the fact ) or retroactive law, is a law that retroactively changes the legal consequences of acts committed or the legal status of facts and relationships that existed prior to the enactment of the… …   Wikipedia

  • ex post facto law — /eks powst faektow 16/ A law passed after the occurrence of a fact or commission of an act, which retrospectively changes the legal consequences or relations of such fact or deed. A law is unconstitutionally ex post facto if it deprives the… …   Black's law dictionary

  • ex post facto law — /eks powst faektow 16/ A law passed after the occurrence of a fact or commission of an act, which retrospectively changes the legal consequences or relations of such fact or deed. A law is unconstitutionally ex post facto if it deprives the… …   Black's law dictionary

  • ex post facto law — ex post fac|to law [ˌeks pəust ˈfæktəu ˌlo: US poust ˈfæktou ˌlo:] n law [Date: 1700 1800; : Latin; Origin: from a thing done afterward ] a law that makes a particular action into a crime, and then punishes people who took that action before it… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • ex post facto law — A law which, in its operation, makes that criminal which was not so at the time of the act, or which increases the punishment, or, in short, which, in relation to the offense or its consequences, alters the situation of a party to his… …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • ex post facto law — noun (C) law a law that makes a particular action into a crime, and then punishes people who took that action before it had legally become a crime …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • ex post facto law — noun : a criminal or penal statute that imposes a punishment for an act not punishable when committed, or alters to the defendant s disadvantage the punishment prescribed at the time of the act, or takes away from the substantial protection… …   Useful english dictionary

  • ex post facto law — noun a law passed after an alleged crime has been committed which, if applied, would work to the disadvantage of a person accused of that crime …   Australian English dictionary

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