Latin Legal Terms


Dominium – in the ancient Roman Law this term has been used to detail the ownership – considered as a couple of exclusive property rights, held by the owner against all third parties. It refers to absolute Title with embedded right to possess and manage the property. The owner is also entitled with the right to retain the property or transfer it at his/her sole incretion. The term origins from the word “dominatus”, which literally means domination, tyranny. In the practice, “dominium” relates to the following legal terms:
1) Dominium eminens – this legal term is applicable in the area of Property Law, where refers to the right of the government or the municipality to retain lands of private citizens for public needs (usually only when infrastructural projects have to be realized and against fair compensation for the land owner).
2) Dominum utile – this is the right to use something; to benefit from it.
“Dominium” participates also in the legal maxim – “duorum in solidum dominium vel possessio esse non potest”, applicable in the area of Real Estate Law. It states that two persons can not hold single ownership or possession. I.e. a sole owner in entirety could be one person, not two. A legal maxim with similar meaning is “duo non possunt in solido unam rem possidere”.

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