Every man’s house is his castle



April 7, 2015

One of the great maxims that our Canadian legal system has inherited is “Et domus sua cuique est tutissimum refugium” Translation: Every man’s house is his castle, or, Every man’s home is his safest refuge). Some say that it can go back to Sir Edward Coke or even as far back as the Romans but I think it can go even further. You can trace it back to the law of God given to Moses.

In Exodus 22:2-3a, God said, “If a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him, but if the sun has risen on him, there shall be bloodguilt for him.”

And in Deuteronomy 24:10-11, God warned, “When you make your neighbour a loan of any sort, you shall not go into his house to collect his pledge. You shall stand outside, and the man to whom you make the loan shall bring the pledge out to you.”

In the case of a night break in and in the case of property seizure, you had to respect the home of the other, treating it basically as a different kingdom that you could not invade to your liking, even if you had good reasons to in the second case. 

God’s law brought true freedom to the nation (for the just) and protected private dwelling places in a way that we can only dream of in our time.

– Maximus

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