De Facto Legal Meaning and Definition

Here is a simplified definition of the legal term De Facto.

De Facto (adjective, adverb)


  1. Latin phrase meaning "in fact" or "in reality." It refers to something that exists in actuality, even if not officially established, recognized, or legal.
  2. Used to describe practices that are universally accepted and used as a standard, although not legally enforced or officially recognized.


- The principle contrasts with 'de jure,' which refers to things officially recognized by law.