Legal Dictionary


Legal Definition of servitude


  1. From Roman law, referring to rights of use over the property of another; a burden on a piece of land causing the owner to suffer access by another. An easement is type of servitude as is a profit a prendre.

Definition of servitude

Further reading

A servitude is a beneficial interest detaching some of the rights in some particular property (burdened property) that do not affect possession but concern uses by another and conferring those rights either on some person (personal beneficiary) other than the owner or on some other property (benefited property). At civil law, ownership is the only full right whereas a servitude is a suborinate real right on par with real burdens, building restrictions, wayleaves, security interests, and reservations. There are two types: predial, attaching to property, and personal, attaching to a person.

A servitude cannot impose the performance of a positive duty on the owner of the burdened property but only duties either to refrain from exercising certain rights to which an owner could be otherwise entitled (negative servitude) or to suffer certain things to be done to his property which an owner otherwise could be entitled to forbid or resist (positive servitude). Servitudes arise from express agreement, adverse possession, or as a matter of law.


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


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