What Is De facto

De facto it is a Latin phrase that literally means “in fact”, that is, by force of fact, without legal recognition. This locution is incorporated into the Spanish language . According to the last Spelling of the RAE it should be written in italics .


de facto situation is one that, existing in reality, has not been formally recognized, either through current legal mechanisms or by the competent authority. It is what exists in practice or in reality without conforming to regulations.


  • A country can be de factoindependent , without formal recognition by the United Nations or other countries.
  • A person may be holding a de factoposition without the existence of an employment contract or without such position having formal recognition by appointment of a competent authority. “Fernández is the de facto technical director , even when the team roster is signed by Domínguez”, “I was forced to assume the management of the de facto company, since Zeyda’s illness prevents him from attending the factory”.
  • de facto couplecan be considered a de facto marriage , since they behave as such in many aspects of their family, personal and social life, but without having the legal recognition of marriage.
  • A common case of the use of this expression is that of de factogovernments . A ” de facto government ” is for having taken power after a coup d’état, as is the case with dictatorships , or simply the one that occupies a power vacuum at a given moment. The de facto government holds and exercises power with all the proper mechanisms of a government, but it does not have legal legitimacy to exercise said power and the legal acts for its proclamation, if any, did not comply with the law in force at that time. . This means that the de facto rulers are not elected by the people in democratic elections as established by the , but they come to power by force. In this way, they carry out a de facto mandate, making the population obey for reasons that have nothing to do with legality or constitutional order: “We cannot take over the illegitimate debt that a de facto government contracted”, “The President de facto he took us to war and was responsible for the deaths of thousands of young people. ”
  • Another common use is de factostandards . A “de facto standard” is one that, without having the formal endorsement of an institutional authority or a standardization body , is widely used in its field, be it commerce , technology , computing or other such as TCP / IP protocols which are also de facto standards .


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