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Legal Dictionary

in personam

Legal Definition of in personam

Etymology

    Latin Origin

Adjective

  1. All legal rights are either in personam or in rem. An in personam right is a personal right attached to a specific person. In rem rights are property rights and enforceable against the entire world.

Definition of in personam

Etymology

    From Latin in + personam, literally "towards a person".

Adjective

in personam (not comparable)

  1. (law) In a lawsuit against a specific individual, a summons and complaint to give the court jurisdiction that is served to a person to try a case. In personam means that a judgment can be enforceable against the person wherever he/she is.

    in personam judgment.

See also

Further reading

In personam is a Latin phrase meaning "directed toward a particular person". In a lawsuit in which the case is against a specific individual, that person must be served with a summons and complaint to give the court jurisdiction to try the case, and the judgment applies to that person and is called an "in personam judgment." In personam is distinguished from in rem, which applies to property or "all the world" instead of a specific person. This technical distinction is important to determine where to file a lawsuit and how to serve a defendant. In personam means that a judgment can be enforceable against the person wherever he/she is. On the other hand, if the lawsuit is to determine title to property (in rem) then the action must be filed where the property exists and is only enforceable there.

References:

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



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