(action for) ejectment – a legal action by which a title holder who has been dispossessed and suffered damages seeks to recover possession, damages, and costs

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1. The ejection of an owner or occupier from property.

2. A legal action by which a person wrongfully ejected from property seeks to recover possession, damages, and costs.

3. The writ by which such an action is begun.  The essential allegations in an action for ejectment are that:

1.) The plaintiff has title to the land.

2.) The plaintiff has been wrongfully dispossessed or ousted.

3.) The plaintiff has suffered damages.

— aka action of ejectment; action for the recovery of land; ejection. [1]

1. An action which is purely possessory; a form of action in which the right of possession to corporeal hereditaments may be tried and possession obtained.  Kingsnorth v Baker, 213 Mich 294, 182 NW 108.

At common law, a purely possessory action; even as modified by statute, and though based upon title, it is essentially of that nature.  25 Am J2d Eject § 1. [2]

1. An action at common law for the right to possession of land. [3]

     Excerpt from George W. Warvelle’s A Treatise on the Principles & Practice of the Action of Ejectment:

    “The evolution of the action of ejectment from its primitive form as a mere action of trespass, enabling a lessee of lands to recover damages when ousted of his possession, through a series of most ingenious fiction, which were afterwards added to enable him to recover possession as well, until its final establishment as the proper method of trying all disputed titles to real property, presents to the student of legal science one of the most interesting studies that the history of the law affords.  Few remedies have passed through so many changes of form, both in pleading and practice, and yet retained the same distinctive character that marked their origin.” [4]

     Excerpt from R.F.V. Heuston’s Salmond on the Law of Torts:

     “Any person wrongfully dispossessed of land may sue for the specific restitution of it in an action of ejectment. Originally this action was a special variety of trespass and available only to leaseholders, but in time and by the aid of the most elaborate fictions it came to be used by freeholders also.  All these fictions have now been swept away; in theory even the term ejectment has been replaced by the term action for the recovery of land. The older term is, however, replaced in practice.” [5]

Related Term:

ejection – 1. An expulsion oby action of law or by actual or threatened physical force.  See OUSTER.  2. EJECTMENT. [1]

ejector n. (17c) Someone who ejects, puts out, or dispossesses another.

  • casual ejector (17c) The nominal defendant in an ejectment action who, under a legal fiction, is supposed to come casually or by accident onto the premises and to eject the lawful possessor. [1]

Various Forms of Ejectment:

equitable ejectment(1820) 1. A proceeding brought to enforce specific performance of a contract for the sale of land and for other purposes.  *  Though in he form of an ejectment action, this proceeding is in reality a substitute for a bill in equity. [1]

1. A paradoxical expression, since ejectment is a legal, not an equitable remedy, but nevertheless applied to an equitable remedy employed in obtaining the specific performance of contracts for the sale of real estate and in some other instances. McKendry v McKendry, 131 Pa 24, 18 A 1078. [2]

justice ejectment(1900) A statutory proceeding to evict a tenant who has held over after termination of the lease or breach of its conditions. 

ejectment bill (18c) Equity practice. A bill in equity brought to recover real property and an accounting of rents and profits, without setting out a distinct ground of equity jurisdiction (and thus demurrable). 



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

[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]:  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.


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