SIGNIFICANT terms and their meanings in international law and diplomacy

U KHIN MAUNG (A retired diplomat)

SERIES SIX (Alphabetical order)

de facto (Lat) : (adj & adv)

De facto is a term used to describe a situation which is acknowledged to exist but of which the legality or justice may be in question.


De facto is frequently applied in international law to a government of a nation which is in fact in power but which may have come into power by violence or unlawful means. It, in short, means from the fact.


de jure (Lat) : (adj & adv)

De jure is a term used to describe a situation in which the rightfulness is admitted, whether or not it is carried in fact.


De jure is applied in international law as a contrast to de facto. It, in short, means from the law.


démarche (Fr) : (n)

Demarche generally means any oral or written diplomatic representation specifically it can be an offer, an attempt, a request, a protestation, a warning, a threat, a demand, etc. DE novo (Lat) : (adj & adv)


De novo is usually an adjective word: e.g. de novo review. As an adverb, it means anew, E.g. We review a summary judgement de novo.


détente: (n)

Détente is a relaxation of tension. It is not the opposite of entente.


diplomacy: (n)

Diplomacy is the art, science, or practice of conducting negotiations between nations. It is the business or art of the diplomatist.


Diplomacy is also the management of international relations by negotiations; the method by which these relations are adjusted and managed by ambassadors and envoys.


diplomat: (n)

Diplomat means one, such as an ambassador, who has been appointed to represent a government in its relations with other governments. It is also used to refer to one who uses skill and tact in dealing with others.


diplomatic corps: (adj)

The diplomatic corps is the body of diplomatic personnel in residence at a nation’s capital.


diplomatic immunity: (adj)

Diplomatic immunity is the exemption from taxation and ordinary processes of law accorded to the diplomatic personnel in a foreign country.


doyen: (n)

an of the Diplomatic Corps is the most senior envoy in point of service.



embargo: (n)

An embargo means the detention of the ships of an offending state in the ports of the injured state by way of reprisals.


Embargo also takes place when at the outbreak of a conflict a neutral state prohibits the shipment of war materials to either or both belligerents.


en clair (Fr) : (adv phr)

En clair is a term meaning in clear; a telegram or radiogram is en clair if it is sent in ordinary plain text, not in code.


entente (Fr): (n)

Entente is understanding; an understanding between two or more states providing for or implying a common course of action, or identity of policy, or a community of interests concerning certain issues.


It is less definite than an “alliance” but stronger than good relations. Entente is not the opposite of détente. Entente cordiale denotes friendly understanding.


escrow: (n)

Escrow is a deed delivered but not to become operative until a future date or until some condition has been fulfilled.


Escrow also means a deposit held in trust or as security.


espionage: (n)

By the term espionage, it is meant the act of spying or illegally discovering information and factual data relating to one nation for the purpose of transmitting them surreptitiously to another.


estoppel: (n)

Estoppel denotes the principle according to which a State is barred from denying the veracity of a statement previously made by an authorized representative or the existence of a fact on which others have been led to rely by the conduct of such representative.


ex aequo et bono (Lat): (adv)

Ex aequo et bono means “in equity and good conscience”


exequatur: (n)

Exequatur is a permission, usually in a formal written document, issued by any government, and authorizing some person to act within the jurisdiction of that government as the consul or commercial agent of a foreign government.


ex officio (Lat): (adj & adv); ex-cathedra (Lat): (adj & adv)

Ex officio means “by virtue of one’s office”. E.g. The chairman is an ex officio member of all standing committees. Another example is that the chairman became a member ex officio.


Ex-cathedra as an adverb means “from the chair; with authority”. Ex-cathedra as an adjective is “authoritative.”


ex parte (Lat): (adj & adv); inter partes (Lat): (adj &adv)

Ex parte means “from one side only”. E.g. The arbitration was conducted ex parte because the appellee declined to participate in the proceeding.


Inter parte is the antonym of ex parte. It means “between parties; involving all parties to a lawsuit”. E.g. In other states, these courts may conduct inter partes proceeding if the contestant files a caveat after the ex parte proceeding has begun.


ex rel (Lat): (n)

Ex-rel is used to designate the complaining party in a criminal action.


extradition: (n)

Extradition is used to refer to the surrender by one nation to another of a person accused of having committed a crime in the latter.


extremism: (n)

Extremism means “belief based on the extreme interpretation of an ideology or doctrine”



(1) Black’s Law Dictionary By Bryan A.Garner

(2) Law and Customs in Burma and the Burmese Family by

Dr Maung Maung, B.L (Rangoon),

J.S.D (Yale), LL.D (Utrecht), of Lincoln’s Inn, Barrister-at-law.