Latin Lessons; Nunc Pro Tunc

Nunc Pro Tunc  means now for then. In general, a “nunc pro tunc” ruling applies retroactively to correct an earlier ruling or to enact a ruling at the time Ordered, as opposed to when the Order was prepared. Nunc Pro Tunc is the legal equivalent of traveling back in time!

Practical applications of Nunc Pro Tunc can be seen in the following examples.

  • The Court issues a ruling from the bench.  The “winning” side’s attorney is instructed to draft the ruling and provide to counsel opposite.  However, there are certain things that have to be done on a deadline based on the Court’s ruling date.  The clock is ticking.  Counsel preparing the Order may well Nunc Pro Tunc it back to the original date it was ordered as opposed to the date it was signed, which could be a week to 10 days later, so the deadlines begin/began when the Court ruled.  Otherwise, the party’s and attorneys may argue as to when time limits began to run and when deadlines expire.
  • Sometimes mistakes happen.  It is not uncommon to see the Judge, or have Court, in a different county than where the matter was filed.  Judges routinely sit over multiple counties.  Orders must be filed in the proper county.  On occasion the Order will be signed by the Judge and the attorney does not get the Order filed that day because it requires travel to another county.  Sometimes, that Order may not be “filed” until well after the fact. In this situation, a second Order may be prepared which, via Nunc Pro Tunc, retroactively gives effect to the prior unfiled Order.  Just be sure to file your second Order!

Nunc pro tunc is a mechanism for legal time travel.

Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney in Mississippi and knows about legal time travel.

Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer Visit the website: Thompson Law Firm

You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or

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