Laches (law Fr. lachesse, idleness). The law shows no favor to either tardy or negligent suitors. Vigilantibus non dormientibus jura subveniunt (the laws assist those who are vigilant, not those who sleep upon their rights). In this spirit are framed statutes of limitation. (See Limitation, Statutes of.) So, too, in respect to the production of evidence: testimony discovered after a trial may be heard by the court, if material to the case; but if, by the exercise of a proper diligence, the evidence might have been offered at the trial, its non-production is attributed to the party's neglect or laches, and from the consequence of that the court will not willingly relieve him. The word laches remains familiar in the law of negotiable paper. The same principles of diligence and laches are found in equity practice. The negligence of a party in bringing suit or doing some other act required of him in order to become entitled to redress is laches, which the court of equity will discountenance. In the language of Baron Alderson: "Nothing will call the court's jurisdiction into exercise but conscience, good faith, and reasonable diligence.
When these fail, the court will remain passive." For example, one who claims specific performance of an agreement must show that he has been in no default in the premises, but that he has taken all proper measures to secure performance; for if he has been guilty of laches his bill for relief will be dismissed. But, nullum tempus occurrit regi, lapse of time does not bar the rights of the crown; in other words, no laches can be imputed to the sovereign, whether crown or state. Not unfre-quently, however, statutes of limitation are made applicable to demands on behalf of the sovereign, and also to criminal charges.