SCO v. IBM. Does the "v." stand for "versus"?

In legal procedings, documents always list Plantiff v. Defendant. I remember hearing a while ago that this doesn’t actually stand for “versus” as commonly believed. It’s an abbeviation for a Latin word that just means “and”. However, from my understanding the Latin word for “and” is “et”.

V. - = versus. (Latin) Against. In the title of a court case reference the name of the plaintiff is put first, followed by the abbreviation “v”, then the defendant’s name.
I’ve never heard that it meant anything other than versus.

Well, FWIW, usually spoken as “Roe and Wade”, not “Roe versus Wade”… of course, then you have Brown and Green v Inland Revenue or somesuch…

You’re kidding, right?

I think it is usually spoken as “Roe vee Wade,” not “Roe and Wade.”

I’ve never heard it called Roe and Wade. Always Roe vee Wade. The vee standing for v. which is the way court decisions are rendered. Other formulations may use vs. for versus instead of v. but they all mean the same thing.

And that never is and.

Huh. It’s different on the other side of the pond, then… It’s always “and” here, never “vee” or “versus”.

Lawyer checking in. The “v.” in a case name (or “vs.” sometimes) does stand for versus. In the US, you would say “SCO versus IBM” or “SCO vee IBM”.

I would never say “SCO and IBM” because that would make the case name confusing, in that we sometimes refer to a case name only by one name, usually the plaintiff’s/petitioner’s name (i.e., the first listed name, like Brown, Roe, Dred Scott, Korematsu). So saying “SCO and IBM” would mean, “the case of SCO and IBM against someone else.”

How about giving us a cite from a UK manual of style or legal text in that case?

I’d be interested in that, but I suspect you won’t find one. I suspect that, if accurate, this practice has grown up orally, not in a written tradition, so the only support one could find would be in, say, transcripts of arguments before the court.

The written British convention would still read Regina v. Dudley and Stephens (an infamous case – scroll down to read the blurb), but the pronunciation of the case name may have arisen differently. I’m not sure how one could really cite to that.

Online cite

Source: The DMU Law Society’s Mooting Rules

‘England and America are two countries divided by a common language.’

That’s interesting. And Tabby_Cat’s cite indicates a distinction in the pronunciation between civil and criminal cases.

IANAL, but I have a law degree. “V” is pronounced “and” in Australia, NZ and the UK (and possibly elsewhere in the Commonwealth).

I must say, though, that as a student, I always refered to the criminal cases as “Ar Vee Brown”, or “Ar Vee Wilson”, and the professors never once said “The Crown against X” or even “Regina and McNaghten”, it was always “Ar Vee” for criminal cases… After all, all criminal cases are R v something or other, and it gets pretty old to keep saying “The Crown” this or “The Crown” that.

I also never knew that only ships were to be refered to in that manner. I guess things are changing a bit now, since in some judgments now refer to “Vallambrosa Rubber”, or “Anaconda Brass”, instead of “Vallambrosa Rubber v Inland Revenue Commissioners”.

Thanks for the cite.

Always something new to learn about the preposterous provincial ways of the country we left in our dust. :slight_smile:

Do I understand correctly that Smith v. Brown and Jones is to be pronounced “Smith and Brown and Jones” ?

Well… yes.


Yes, you could also say “Smith against Brown and Jones”, but according to Tabby_Cat’s cite ‘against’ is used for criminal cases, not a civil case such as ‘Smith v. Brown and Jones’.