pageok
pageok
pageok
Prochein Ami:

Yesterday, I ran across this bit of legalese for the first time, so I thought I'd note it -- it's Law French for "next friend," which is to say (to quote Black's), someone "who appears in a lawsuit to act for the benefit of an incompetent or minor plaintiff ...." The phrase, I'm pleased to say, is used only about 0.5% times as often as "next friend," but that still includes 20 cases (found via a Westlaw ALLCASES search) since 2005. So don't use it, but know it.

By the way, the phrase isn't French-by-way-of-Louisiana, but rather apparently French-by-way-of-1066 (or in any event by way of French influence on early English law). Of the 20 recent references, 3 were from Maryland, 6 from Connecticut, and 7 from Hawaii. It's also occasionally spelled "Prochein Amy" or "Prochain Amy."

Special bonus opaque legalism, which is noted in the question posed below: Some courts in New England states use the phrase "ppa" in case captions; this means "per prochein ami," or "by next friend." It's commonplace in Connecticut, not uncommon in Massachusetts, and seen occasionally in neighboring states.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Alien Amy:
  2. Prochein Ami:
  3. PPA:
Ex-Fed (mail) (www):
Wait. It's not pro-dog friend?
8.12.2009 4:00pm
John Armstrong (mail) (www):
Is it old French? Nowadays they spell it "prochain".
8.12.2009 4:23pm
Joe Kristan (www):
The Volokh Conspiracy: where to go si vous cherchez l'ami (or something like that).
8.12.2009 4:29pm
BABH:
Blackstone has "prochein amy."
8.12.2009 4:30pm
Saint Russell (mail):
Ex-Fed: No, that would be "prochien ami", wouldn't it?
8.12.2009 4:47pm
Fub:
Saint Russell wrote at 8.12.2009 4:47pm:
Ex-Fed: No, that would be "prochien ami", wouldn't it?
Yep. But Prochein Ami would still be a good name for a band since Chien Bizarre is already taken.
8.12.2009 5:26pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
just don't misspell it "porcine Amy"
8.12.2009 6:29pm
Bama 1L:
Is it old French? Nowadays they spell it "prochain".

Law French is basically a specialized version of the Anglo-Norman dialect as it developed up to about the sixteenth century. It's closer to the Song of Roland than to Modern French.
8.12.2009 8:04pm
Allan L. (mail):
Guernsey is a good place to go to find old French in use today in the law. Prochain Amy is a special girl I knew in college.
8.13.2009 4:19pm
neurodoc:
Bama 1L: Law French is basically a specialized version of the Anglo-Norman dialect as it developed up to about the sixteenth century.
How much of this Law French taint persists? Other examples? Why go with "prochein ami" rather than simply "next friend" or the Latin equivalent, whatever that might be? Is their "legalese" still in use that comes to us unaltered from languages other than Latin and this ancient French stuff?
8.13.2009 5:25pm
Stash:
I have been trying for years to get an explanation of "pro modo." I saw the phrase in old Illinois Supreme Court case. I did an all-firm email on the subject, but nobody knew anything. (I did get a few joke responses.) From the context, I assume it is the opposite of "pro forma" but I have seen it nowhere else.
8.13.2009 7:10pm
New Pseudonym (mail):

How much of this Law French taint persists?


Who can forget Property I's life estate per autre vie.
8.13.2009 7:55pm

Post as: [Register] [Log In]

Account:
Password:
Remember info?

If you have a comment about spelling, typos, or format errors, please e-mail the poster directly rather than posting a comment.

Comment Policy: We reserve the right to edit or delete comments, and in extreme cases to ban commenters, at our discretion. Comments must be relevant and civil (and, especially, free of name-calling). We think of comment threads like dinner parties at our homes. If you make the party unpleasant for us or for others, we'd rather you went elsewhere. We're happy to see a wide range of viewpoints, but we want all of them to be expressed as politely as possible.

We realize that such a comment policy can never be evenly enforced, because we can't possibly monitor every comment equally well. Hundreds of comments are posted every day here, and we don't read them all. Those we read, we read with different degrees of attention, and in different moods. We try to be fair, but we make no promises.

And remember, it's a big Internet. If you think we were mistaken in removing your post (or, in extreme cases, in removing you) -- or if you prefer a more free-for-all approach -- there are surely plenty of ways you can still get your views out.