Audi alteram partem

Audi alteram partem – from Latin: “Listen to the other side” or “let the other side be heard as well”. It is fundamental legal principle in which each party is entitled to a fair hearing and given the opportunity to respond to evidence against them.

This principle forms the basis of the two requirements of natural justice (procedural fairness), the other being the rule against being heard before an independent and “uninterested” adjudicator.

In administrative law the ‘hearing rule’ is fundamentally based on the maxim of audi alteram partem. A failure to inform a person of a case being made against them and an opportunity to be heard may result in the matter being dismissed or decision of a government body rendered void.

In the context of commercial law this legal maxim is evident in, for example, the requirement for an originating process to be served on a defendant/respondent. A claim must be brought to their attention to give them the opportunity to respond. The failure to serve an originating process (in accordance with the Rules of the particular jurisdiction) will not give a claimant any right to file, for example, default judgment due to the requirement of an affidavit of service.