ac etiam (ak ee-shee-<<schwa>>m oresh-ee-<<schwa>>m). [Law Latin] Common-law
pleading. 1. And also. • These words introduced a genuine claim in a pleading in a common-law
case in which a fictitious claim had to be alleged to give the court jurisdiction. In other words, the
phrase ac etiam directed the court to the real cause of action. — Also spelled acetiam.
“[T]o remedy this inconvenience, the officers of the king’s bench devised a method of adding
what is called a clause of ac etiam to the usual complaint of trespass; the bill of Middlesex
commanding the defendant to be brought in to answer the plaintiff of a plea of trespass, and also
to a bill of debt: the complaint of trespass giving cognizance to the court, and that of debt
authorizing the arrest.” 3 William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England 288 (1768).
“[Once] it was established that the King’s Bench was not exclusively a court for ‘crown
cases,’ but could also be used for civil litigation, it was not difficult to extend the jurisdiction a
step further by allowing the ordinary citizen to allege that the defendant had committed a trespass
or other breach of the peace ‘and also’ that the defendant was under some obligation to the
plaintiff, and to treat the allegation concerning breach of the peace as a mere fiction which need
not be proved, and to allow the suit to be maintained solely on the basis of the civil obligation.
The Latin words ‘ac etiam’ were the crucial ones in the old complaint that stated the fictitious
breach of the peace ‘and also’ the actual civil obligation.” Charles Herman Kinnane, A First Book
on Anglo-American Law 269 (2d ed. 1952).
2. The clause that introduced the real allegation after a fictitious allegation of trespass. —
Also termed (in sense 2) ac etiam clause. [Blacks Law 8th]