claim of right (title, ownership) – entry and occupation of land with intent to claim and hold it for one’s own

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claim of title:

1. Same as claim of right[1]

1. The entry and occupation of land with the intent to hold it as the claimant’s own against the world, irrespective of any shadow or color or right or title as a foundation of his claim. Anno: 2 ALR 1457. [2]


claim of ownership:

1. Same as claim of right[1]

1. See claim of right[2]

1. The possession of a piece of property with the intention of claiming it in hostility to the true owner.

2. A party’s manifest intention to take over land, regardless of title or right. — aka claim of right; claim of title[3]

claim of right:

1. An entry upon land with the intent to claim and hold it for one’s own, even though the claimant does not have title to the land and has no right to be on it. [1]

1. An entry upon land with the intent to claim the land and to hold it; the intention of the disseisor to appropriate and use land as his own to the exclusion of all others, irrespective of any semblance or shadow of actual title or right.  Guaranty Title & Trust Corp. v United States, 265 US 200, 204, 68 L Ed 636, 638, 44 S Ct 252. [2]

1. Hist. A criminal defendant’s plea that the defendant committed the act in question under the mistaken but honest belief hat it was legal.  *  Defendant accused of theft often raised his plea, asserting an honest belief in a superior right to the property taken.  The claim of right could also be raised as a defense against bigamy if the defendant honestly believes that an earlier marriage had been legally dissolved.  The usual phrase today is honest defense.  Cf. honesty defense under DEFENSE (1)

2. Hist. An owner’s action to recover unjustly taken land in fee simple by employing a writ of course.  See WRIT OF COURSE.



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[1]:  Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition
by Jack Ballantine 
(James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.

[2]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations Third Edition by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Edited by William S. Anderson.  © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY.  Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931.

[3]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black, Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-61300-4.


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