Ex post – What is it, definition and concept

Ex post is an expression from Latin that literally means “after” and is used to indicate the effects that occur after an event.

That is, the ex post expression is used once an event or action has occurred. In law, it is usually used to analyze the effects that the approval of a new legal norm has had or those that it will have.

Suppose that a legal norm approves that the age of majority will be reached at 16 and not at 18 years. Once the measure is approved, it will be said that the effectiveness of a contract entered into by a 16-year-old, for example, is valid ex post the legal norm.

Likewise, we can see another example, such as contracts subject to condition or subject to term, which will be executed ex post fulfillment of the term or condition.

The contract subject to condition is one that links its effectiveness to a future and uncertain event. When this fact occurs, the contract will display its effectiveness, and that is why this expression is used. Likewise, the contract subject to term is one that depends on the fulfillment of a future event and this expression is also very useful to determine its effectiveness.

This expression cannot be confused with ex post facto Law. This refers to a law or legal norm that is approved by changing the consequences of a past legal event. This rule changes the legal consequences of an event that has already occurred, that is, it is retroactive.

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Use of the term ex post

In addition to being used in common phrases in the language of law such as those explained above, it is also used ex post in:

  • Evaluations of the impact of a legal norm after having passed a law. These evaluations that support the legal analysis are carried out after the publication of the regulations.
  • In the economic world this term is also used to make evaluations after the economic event.
  • In the tax field, this expression is often used for controls. In other words, the control of compliance with tax regulations is done ex post, once the taxable event has occurred and not prior to it.

Ex post and ex ante

It is common to understand the expression “ex post” as contrary to the expression “ex ante”, which literally means “prior to”.

Ex post Ex ante
Effects after a legal event, action or rule. Effects prior to a legal event, action or rule.
Evaluation or control after the legal act. Evaluation or control prior to the commission of a legal act.

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