Literally it means "Ignorance of the law excuses no one". This is used in court when someone tries to get out of a crime by saying they didn't know it was illegal or didn't know that the law prohibiting it existed.

An alternate Latin term for ignorantia legis neminem excusat is the term ignorantia juris non excusat, which means "ignorance of the law does not excuse". In the legal system, especially in criminal law, each and every citizen is presumed to have full knowledge and awareness of the law. Therefore ignorance the the fact that a certain act was illegal cannot be used as a criminal defense in the court of law.

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