rex non potest peccare

Rex non potest peccare is a Latin legal maxim meaning "the king can do no wrong" which developed into the doctrine of sovereign immunity, also known as governmental immunity. Rex non potest peccare originated in English common law and is based on the idea that the king cannot commit a legal wrong. The doctrine of sovereign immunity developed from this principle prevents sovereigns, including the government or its branches, departments and agencies, from being sued without their consent. In the United States, sovereign immunity applies to federal and state governments, but not to municipalities. However, federal and state governments have the right to waive their sovereign immunity.

[Last updated in May of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]