Dominium directum et utile

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Dominium directum et utile is a Latin legal term referring to the "complete and absolute dominion [in property]"; i.e. the union of the title and the exclusive use.[1]


Dominium directum (Feudal): the right of the lord (i.e., the right to direct) in the disposition of an asset (typically land).
Dominium utile (Feudal): the right of use and utility of an asset, and to keep the benefits (such as the right to live on the land, and to keep the profits from agriculture).

The terms derive from Latin dominium (domain, dominion), directum (direction, in the sense of leadership), and utile (use, utility).

An asset is defined to mean itself and those things that naturally go with it. For land, that would include buildings, trees, underground resources, etc. It would not include "movable" property, such as wagons or livestock.

  • The holder of the dominium directum is considered the superior (i.e., the lord); the holder of the dominium utile is considered the inferior (i.e., the vassal).
  • Dominium utile includes the right of the holder to keep any income or profit derived from the asset.
  • The transfer of the dominium directum does not affect the rights of any holders of dominium utile. The holder of a dominium utile has no right of transfer (however, there were usually conditions allowed for, such as transfer to a son in the event of death).

The definition was constructed from the sources. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

Additional explanations[edit]

The "lord" holding dominium directum may be anyone with sovereign power over the asset, such as a monarch or other nobility, or an established Christian Church.

Sources and references[edit]

  1. ^ See Fairfax's Devisee v Hunter's Lessee (US) 7 Cranch 603, 618, 3 L Ed 453, 458.
  2. ^ Shumaker, Walter A.; George Foster Longsdorf (1922). The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary (Second Edition by James C. Cahill ed.). Chicago: Callaghan and Company.
  3. ^ "Dictionary,". Archived from the original on February 3, 2008. Retrieved March 1, 2008.
  4. ^ "The Free Dictionary by Farlex". Retrieved March 1, 2008.
  5. ^ "Scottish Language Dictionaries". Archived from the original on February 20, 2008. Retrieved March 1, 2008.
  6. ^ "The Records of the Parliaments of Scotland to 1707". K.M. Brown et al. eds (St Andrews, 2007), 1605/6/39. Retrieved February 15, 2008.

See also[edit]