De Facto vs. De Jure

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between De Facto and De Jure is that the De Facto is a Latin expression, roughly meaning ‘in fact’ and De Jure is a Latin expression, roughly meaning ‘by law’.

  • De Facto

    In law and government, de facto ( or ; Latin: de facto, “in fact”; Latin pronunciation: [deː ˈfaktoː]) describes practices that exist in reality, even though they are not officially recognized by laws. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with de jure (“in law”), which refers to things that happen according to law. Unofficial customs that are widely accepted are sometimes called de facto standards.

  • De Jure

    In law and government, de jure (; Latin: de iure, “in law”; Latin pronunciation: [deː juːre]) describes practices that are legally recognised, regardless whether the practice exists in reality. In contrast, de facto (“in fact”) describes situations that exist in reality, even if not legally recognised. The terms are often used to contrast different scenarios: for a colloquial example, “I know that, de jure, this is supposed to be a parking lot, but now that the flood has left four feet of water here, it’s a de facto swimming pool”. To further explain, even if the signs around the flooded parking lot say “Parking Lot” (the signs effectively being the “law” determining what it is) it is “in fact” a swimming pool (with the water, the current practical circumstances, determining what it is).


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