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In a basic introduction to law class (major is computer science, I'm in the UK and the focus of our course is England and Wales) we were told that conduct which can be considered as both civil and criminal is called 'Double Indemnity' (eg assault).

The only definitions of 'Double Indemnity' I've found online refer to insurance clauses. For example in Cambridge Dictionary.

I've tried to clarify with my lecturer but they stated that it is an accepted legal term. Is this correct?

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    Oh, About what country's law was this class? That might make a difference. Since you included the civil-legal-system tag I suppose it is not the US. Oct 29, 2021 at 20:29
  • @DavidSiegel I doubt it's any Anglophone country, since they all use the Common Law system. I'm wondering if the OP has translated the term from their native language.
    – nick012000
    Oct 30, 2021 at 1:33
  • Is it possible that they're confusing ‘double indemnity’ with ‘double jeopardy’? (That doesn't seem an exact match for their use, but I used to confuse them…)
    – gidds
    Oct 30, 2021 at 10:36
  • @nick012000 It is hard to say, I wonder if the tag is in error. Someone seems to be mixed up, perhaps the teacher. Oct 30, 2021 at 17:53
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    In England and Wales I have never heard this expression use to mean what your lecturer says. Perhaps he knows more about computers than law.
    – Nemo
    Nov 1, 2021 at 12:52

2 Answers 2

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Apparently in the law of the Philippines the term "Double Indemnity" is used for provisions that impose on an employer who fails to pay the required minimum wage, an obligation to pay to the employee(s) twice the amount which would otherwise be due. This is imposed by Republic Act No. 8188. See:

Aside from references to RA 8188, the only mentions of the phrase "Double Indemnity" I can find in online legal writing are in an insurance context. The only similar phrase that I am aware of is 'Double Jeopardy", which of course has nothing to do with civil liability.

Thus I think the professor is mistaken, and this is not an accepted legal term with the meaning of an act that carries both civil and criminal penalties (such as fraud).

However, it might be unwise to argue too strongly with one's professor.

My suggestion would be to use the term in that class as the professor has defined it, and not so use it anywhere else.

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I've never heard the phrase used this way, and it wouldn't make any sense, anyway; "indemnity" is security against a consequence, so the existence of civil and criminal consequences would be a double non-indemnification.

Maybe ask the lecturer for a published example of this usage.

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  • That's what I thought. I did send an email requesting a reference but they just replied that it's an 'accepted legal term'. Thanks. Oct 29, 2021 at 17:37

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