Original Latin Quote
Feriis caret necessitas
English Translation Of Quote
Necessity has no holiday, or knows no law.— Palladius Rutilius Taurus
Necessity Has No Holiday, Or Knows No Law
Necessity knows no holiday is an expression which translates to, “Necessity knows no law.” In Latin this expression is expressed through necessitas legem non habet.
Surveys reveal that as more people use something, more perceive it as necessary. Home computers and cell phones have grown immensely popular to such an extent that most consider them essential tools in modern life.
Necessity knows no law is an expression used to indicate that when someone desperately needs something, they will do whatever is necessary – even breaking laws – in order to obtain it. For instance, someone without food might steal it from stores; when their income increases their demand decreases. This type of good is called a negative income good as an increase causes its demand to decrease while an increase increases demand – these goods differ from luxury ones like Tesco Value bread, bus travel and theme park visits which people tend to want more and more of.
This quote is frequently referenced when discussing poverty; however, its applicability extends to any situation of urgent need. For example, someone looking for money might rob or beg. However, it should be remembered that the statement does not imply breaking laws as an automatic solution and rather suggests looking for other means such as seeking help or using welfare benefits as ways of alleviating problems.
Aquinas’ quote can often be attributed to him, though his reasoning for it remains obscure. Perhaps this statement indicates that laws have inherent restrictions or that upholding their spirit often necessitates breaking its letter.
“Necessity knows no law”, as described by Aquinas, is often used to illustrate situations when individuals must do something against rules. Whether this be due to inherent limitations of laws, as suggested by Aquinas or simply upholding its spirit requires violating some legalese, rules simply can’t always keep up in cases of necessity.
Sheer necessity often creates exceptions from laws; necessity does not follow them, which explains why people act out of necessity in situations which would otherwise be seen as illegal. That’s why Gratian uses the formula “Not kennt ein Gebot” (necessity knows no law) when justifying decrees with legal force that are issued in cases of necessity.