Definition of habeas corpus noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


habeas corpus

BrE BrE//ˌheɪbiəs ˈkɔːpəs//
; NAmE NAmE//ˌheɪbiəs ˈkɔːrpəs//
[uncountable] (from Latin, law)
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a law that states that a person who has been arrested should not be kept in prison longer than a particular period of time unless a judge in court has decided that it is right to apply for a writ of habeas corpus Word Originlate Middle English: Latin, literally ‘thou shalt have the body (in court)’. Culture Habeas corpus is one of the most important ways of protecting people's personal freedom. It formally became a part of the law in Britain in 1679. US procedure is also based on the Act of 1679. Article 1 of the American Constitution says that a person's right to get a writ of habeas corpus can never be taken away except in cases of rebellion or invasion. 'Habeas corpus' is part of the Latin phrase Habeas corpus ad subjiciendum, which means 'You should have the body brought before the judge.’
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: habeas corpus