- (law) More properly the exceptio doli generalis. An exception or exceptio whereby a defendant can raise the defence that the plaintiff has not acted in good faith.
- Such would be the case, for example, if a person were to sue upon a transaction which he had obtained from the defendant by intimidation, or if he were to sue the defendant in breach of an informal agreement not to sue (pactum de non petendo). In this way the exceptio doli may sometimes serve the purposes of an exceptio metus or exceptio pacti. But Roman jurisprudence did not stop there. An exceptio doli was declared to be available, not only where the plaintiff by taking legal proceedings was acting maliciously, but also wherever, as it was said, 'ipsa res in se dolum habet' (1, 36 D. de verb. obl. 45, I), i.e. wherever the raising of the action constituted objectively a breach of good faith. The insertion of the exceptio doli in the formula was considered as empowering the judge to take account of every single circumstance which would render the condemnation of the defendant substantially unjust. ZUURBEKOM, LTD v UNION CORPORATION, LTD 1947 (1) SA 514 (A)
A list of common exceptions under exceptio