Difference Between De Jure vs. De Facto

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Main Difference

The difference between De Jure and De Facto is that De jure refers to something that exists as a result of law, whereas de facto refers to something that exists as a result of fact other than law.

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De Jure vs. De Facto

De Jure and De Facto are the Latin expressions often used in legal contexts or to describe the nature of state government. With the thick difference wall between them one can easily differentiate between both the terms, though unfamiliarity with the Latin makes it a little confusing for people to guess what these expressions are about. Actually both these terms are antonyms of each other, one can easily understand the meaning of other by getting the meaning of the one. De Jure is a Latin expression that means ‘of law, legitimate, lawful, or by right of law, whereas De facto is a Latin expression that means ‘in fact, in reality, in actual existence, force, or, as a matter of fact’. In the political scenario we can describe De Jure as the state affair according to law or by rightful entitlement, on the other hand, De Facto refers to the state affair that exists but is not abided by law, it can either be with force or any other mean.

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Comparison Chart

De JureDe Facto
MeaningDe Jure is a Latin expression that means ‘of law, legitimate, lawful, or by right of law.De facto is a Latin expression that means ‘in fact, in reality, in actual existence, force, or, as a matter of fact’.
Political ScenarioIn the political scenario we can describe De Jure as the state affair according to law or by rightful entitlement.De Facto refers to the state affair that exists but is not abided by law, it can either be with force or any other mean.
ExampleThe elections held to run the state affairs are one of the best example of De Jure as they are held as per the law and those electing through it and coming in power via proper channel or legal means form the De Jure government.Military Coups overthrows the legally elected government and comes in regime by force and power. The government or rule formed by the military in the case is ‘De Facto’.
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What is De Jure?

De Jure is a Latin expression that means legitimate, lawful, or abided by the law. In general parameters De Jure can be any position, power or any possession that is sanctioned by law.

Example: The elections held to run the state affairs are one of the best example of De Jure as they are held as per the law and those electing through it and coming in power via proper channel or legal means form the De Jure government (A government that is legally set through proper channel not by the force or any expulsion).

People are well aware with the terms like De Facto and De Jure since the American Civil War as the governments were differentiated as lawful (De Jure), unlawful or by power (De Facto).

What is De Facto?

De facto is a Latin expression that means ‘in fact, in reality, in actual existence, force, or, as a matter of fact’. In a broader perspective it can be taken as something factual that is different from what it seems. In political scenario it generally means taking hold of the house or position that too by a force.

Example: Military Coups overthrows the legally elected government and comes in regime by force and power. The government or rule formed by the military in the case is ‘De Facto’.

As mentioned above De Facto also refers to something factual, opposite to what it really seems. Example: The leader holding the office through legal means is our official leader, though the actual man or power behind him is the De Facto power.

As like the phrase ‘One Man’s Terrorist Another Man’s Freedom Fighter’ one’s De Jure can be De Facto for other. Example: During American Civil War in the American South, racial segregation was de jure, but in the North, it was de facto.

Key Differences

  1. De Jure is a Latin expression that means ‘of law, legitimate, lawful, or by right of law, whereas De facto is a Latin expression that means ‘in fact, in reality, in actual existence, force, or, as a matter of fact’.
  2. In the political scenario we can describe De Jure as the state affair according to law or by rightful entitlement, on the other hand, De Facto refers to the state affair that exists but is not abided by law, it can either be with force or any other mean.
  3. During American Civil War in the American South, racial segregation was de jure, but in the North, it was de facto.

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