Legal Dictionary

dominion directum

Legal Definition of dominion directum


    Latin Origin


  1. The qualified ownership of a landlord, not having possession or use of property but retaining ownership. Used in feudal English land systems to describe the King's ownership of all the land, even though most of it was lent out to lords for their exclusive use and enjoyment.


    Latin origin

See also

Definition of dominion directum

Further reading

Dominum utile redirects here because its definition is bound up in that of dominum directum.

Dominum directum (Feudal): the right of the lord (ie, the right to direct) in the disposition of an asset (typically land). Dominum 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 dominum (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 dominum directum is considered the superior (ie, the lord); the holder of the dominum utile is considered the inferior (ie, the vassal).
  • Dominum utile includes the right of the holder to keep any income or profit derived from the asset.
  • The transfer of the dominum directum does not affect the rights of any holders of dominum utile. The holder of a dominum 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. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

Additional explanations

The "lord" holding dominum 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

  1. Shumaker, Walter A.; George Foster Longsdorf (1922). The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary (Second Edition by James C. Cahill ed.). Chicago: Callaghan and Company.
  2. "Dictionary,". Retrieved March 1 2008.
  3. "The Free Dictionary by Farlex". Retrieved March 1 2008.
  4. "Scottish Language Dictionaries". Retrieved March 1 2008.
  5. "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.


  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.


1.     landed property
2.     common stock
3.     lex situs
4.     lex causae
5.     lex fori
6.     status quo
7.     buggery
8.     conclusive presumption
9.     interlocutory
10.     writ of seizure and sale