De facto

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De facto is a Latin expression that means "by [the] fact". In law, it means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but without being officially established". It is commonly used in contrast to de jure (which means "concerning the law") when referring to matters of law, governance, or technique (such as standards) that are found in the common experience as created or developed without or contrary to a regulation. When discussing a legal situation, de jure designates what the law says, while de facto designates action of what happens in practice. It is analogous and similar to the expressions "for all intents and purposes" or "in fact".



Segregation (during the United States' Civil Rights era)

'De facto' racial discrimination and segregation in the USA during the 1950s and 1960s was simply discrimination that was not segregation by law (de jure).

Jim Crow Laws, which were enacted in the 1870s, brought legal racial segregation against African Americans residing in the Southeastern USA. These laws were legally ended in 1964 by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.[1][2][3]

Continued practices of expecting African Americans to ride in the back of buses or to step aside onto the street if not enough room was present for a Caucasian person and "separate but equal" facilities are instances of de facto segregation. The NAACP fought for the de jure law to be upheld and for de facto segregation practices to be abolished.


A de facto standard is a standard (formal or informal) that has achieved a dominant position, by tradition, enforcement, or market dominance. It has not necessarily received formal approval by way of a standardization process, and may not have an official standards document.

National languages

Several de facto English-speaking countries have no de jure official national language, such as Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In addition, although the official languages of the Republic of Ireland are Irish and English,[4] English is considered to be the de facto language.[citation needed]

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