Abeyance Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Abeyance, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Abeyance?

n.abeance in old french means gaping. It is a state of expectancy in respect of property, title, etc in cases where the sole right is not vested in one person, but awaits the appearance or determination of the true owner.

History and Meaning of Abeyance

The term "abeyance" originates from the old French word "abeance" which means "in a state of gaping." The legal meaning of abeyance refers to a period of inactivity, suspense, or temporary cessation of the exercise of a right or claim. More specifically, it is used to describe a situation where a title, office, or other legal right is not in use or has not been assigned to any person, awaiting the appearance or determination of the rightful owner.

Examples of Abeyance

  1. When a noble title is passed between generations, there may be a period of abeyance if it is not immediately clear who the rightful heir is.
  2. A corporation may hold off on appointing a CEO until the legal disputes over ownership of the company are resolved.
  3. When a property is transferred from one owner to another, there may be a brief period of abeyance where the ownership is not officially transferred.

Legal Terms Similar to Abeyance

  1. Laches - a legal term used to describe a delay or negligence in asserting one's legal rights.
  2. Escheat - the transfer of a title or property to the state if no rightful owner or beneficiary can be found.
  3. Detinue - a legal action where a plaintiff seeks the return of specific property wrongfully withheld by the defendant.