Action of Ejectment – an owner or occupier who was wrongfully ejected recovers possession, damages, & costs


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, & 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. See FORCIBLE ENTRY AND DETAINER. [1]

1. An action at common law for the right to possession of land.  See also forcible detainerforcible entry and detainder. [2]

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.
     See equitable ejectment; writ of ejectment. [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 & practice, & 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 & available only to leaseholders. But in time & 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 All these fictions have now been swept away; in theory even the term ejectment has been replaced by the term action for the recovery of land.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 Actions:

Action for Mesne Profits following a successful action of ejectment, a lawsuit filed by the landowner to recover from losses/damages suffered as a result of:

1.) the use of the land during the wrongful occupation

2.) the costs of ejectment.


Federal Laws & Legal Remedies to Protect Native (“Indian”) Landowners



[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6

[2]: 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.

[3]: 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

[4]: George W. Warvelle’s A Treatise on the Principles & Practice of the Action of Ejectment § 4, at 4-5 (1905)

[5]: R.F.V. Heuston, Salmond on the Law of Torts 41 (17th ed. 1977)

[6]: Rollin M. Perkins & Ronald N. Boyce, Criminal Law  & Procedure 487-88 (3d. ed. 1982):
[7]:Benjamin J. Shipman, Handbook of Common-Law Pleading § 74, at 188 (Henry Winthrop Ballantine ed. 1923):


Back to 11 Common Law Forms of Action

Intro to U.S. Law

Legal Precepts Adopted (from Europe) into The U.S. Constitution

§ § of Law Embedded into the Constitution Pursuant to the American Revolution

Indian Country Law

Civil Proceedings (Torts) Self-Help

Criminal Proceedings (Crimes) Self-Help

Federal Rules of Procedure

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