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Glossary Of Legal Terms

Aboriginal title: A legal concept of title derived from a native group's use and occupancy of land from time immemorial.

Adverse possession: A principle that provides a method of acquired title of property by possession for a period of time fixed by statute and under certain conditions. The possession must be actual, adverse, under claim of right, open, and notorious.

Alienation of land: Conveyance or transfer of title to property.

Allodial: Free, owned without obligation to a superior feudal owner; the opposite of feudal.

Appurtenant water rights: Water rights used with the land for its benefit. In Hawaiian water law, a present right to use the amount of water used at the time of the award of the land under traditional Hawaiian land law.

Dictum: A remark by a court that is not essential to the ruling in the case; it does not have binding effect in later cases.

Extinguish title: The cancellation of a right to land.

Fast land: Land above the river banks, not subject to frequent erosion.

Fee simpie absolute title: Title that is absolute to a person and his heirs and assigns forever without limitation or condition.

Feudal, defeudalization: Feudal lands are those held from a superior on condition of providing him with services. Defeudalization is changing the system of laws to end feudal tenure in lands.

Geothermal development: Establishing a means for deriving energy from the heat of the earth's interior.

Inalienable: Not subject to alienation; the characteristics of those things that cannot be bought, sold, or transferred from one person to another. An example is certain personal rights such as liberty.

Navigable waters: Rivers and streams that afford a channel for useful commerce. Waters are "navigable waters of the United States" when they form, by themselves or by uniting with other waters, a continuous highway over which commerce is or may be carried on with other states or foreign countries in the customary ways oy which such commerce is conducted by water.

Patent (land patent): The document by which a state or government grants public land to an individual.

Prescriptive water rights: Rights to use surface waters that are acquired by long-term use.

Prorogue: To suspend or end a legislative session.

Quit claim: To release or relinguish a claim in land.

Recognized title: The right to occupy and use certain lands permanently that the United States has specifically granted by law or statute to a native group.

Title: The means by which the owner of lands had the possession of his property. It is the union of all the elements that constitute ownership.


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