Updated: Oct 18, 2020


This paper aims to discuss about the case law – Ashby v. White. In the eighteenth century, this case is said to have established the principle that for every right, there must be a remedy. Firstly it was said that this case did not establish the principle that every right, must have a remedy. Certain incomplete records give the misimpression about the case. After a close reading of the other historical sources and complete records, it is said that the case established the principle.

Facts of the case:

Mr Ashby was prevented from voting at an election by the misfeasance of a constable, Mr. White, on the apparent pretext. Mr. Mathew Ashby, a cobbler, tuned up to cast his vote for the British parliament in December 1701. Ashby was stopped by William white, a constable who was an officer in the parliamentary election. He refused to take the plaintiff’s vote in the election.

In spite of this, his candidate won the election and no harm was caused to him. The plaintiff was not suffered from any monetary damages. But there was legal damage happened to the plaintiff. So Ashby sued for the substantial damages. The defendant contented that since Ashby had suffered no loss as his candidate won the election, he was not liable.

Ashby did not accept it as he was a qualified voter. The police man who detained him from voting had violated his legal right (right to vote).


It was finally held that the defendant (White) by preventing plaintiff (Ashby) from voting violated Ashby’s legal right and was entitled to damages. The court held that no damage or injury was caused as the candidate to whom the plaintiff wanted to vote had won the election. But his right to vote was violated here. Detaining a person from voting is a civil wrong. Therefore the plaintiff had the right to seek the remedy from the court of law. The maxim ubi jus ibi remedium was applied in this case and the plaintiff was awarded with the compensation amount.

Chief Justice Holt said: “Every injury imports damage though it does not cost the party one farthing. For a damage not merely pecuniary but an injury imports a damage, when a person is thereby hindered of his rights.” (I)

Case Comment:

• In this case, Ashby’s legal right (right to vote) was violated.

• Right to vote is a basic fundamental right of a person which was violated here.

• In this voting rights case, is said to have established the principle that for every right, there must be a remedy (ubi jus ibi remedium).


In this case it was held that the plaintiff’s legal right was violated by the defendant. So the defendant was liable to pay the compensation to the plaintiff. In this case what was held by the court is correct and I completely agree with the judgement.


The person whose right is violated has a right to sue and stand before the court of law. This maxim does not say that there is a remedy for every wrong. But the basic idea behind the maxim- ubi jus ibi remedium is that no wrong will be unredressed if it can be remedied by the court. No wrong doer can escape from the eyes of law. The maxim is true as no right exists without a remedy. The maxim is accepted by the law of torts and provides the remedy in every case.

Credit: ARSHIYA .A


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