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AC ETIAM

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]