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use


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N. [possibly from Latin: opus, benefit]

Formerly, a right, recognized only in Chancery, of a beneficiary (the cestui que use) against the legal owner of land. The medieval common law recognized only legal rights, which were often restricted in nature, but the Chancery protected those to whose use or benefit land was given, although they were not the legal owners. If A held property to the use of B, A was the legal owner ( feoffee to uses) and B was the beneficiary (cestui que use). Uses gave flexibility and helped the evasion of feudal incidents (the medieval equivalent of tax liability). In 1535 the Statute of Uses executed the use, i.e. converted the rights of a cestui que use to legal rights, but the statute proved ineffective (see use upon a use); it was repealed and uses were abolished in 1925.

From:  use  in  A Dictionary of Law »

Subjects: Law.


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