Parens patriae

Filed Under: Social Welfare Law

3 definitions found for this term.
Definitions are presented in the order source books were published (most recent first).


Literally means the father of the country. It refers to the right of the Crown to exercise a form of guardianship over the state and persons in need. It is commonly used to indicate the right of the crown to enforce public rights and to represent the public interest.

[Latin for “parent of the country”] refers to the child welfare-oriented philosophy reflected in the JDA, with the judge acting as a stern but wise parent.


“Parent of the country”; typically used when referring to the state’s duty to care for its citizens.

Scroll to Top