De facto is a Latin expression that means "by [the] fact". In law, it is meant to mean "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". The term de facto as of governments was created after the Argentine Constitution referred to illegal governments (governing bodies which Argentina did not acknowledge as individual nations) as de facto governments. The term de facto may also be used when there is no relevant law or standard, but a common and well established practice that is considered the accepted norm.
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