Expropriation Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Expropriation?

n. Acquisition of property or rights by a government authority through eminent domain. Just compensation must be paid to the owner who can issue a claim against the acquirer.

History and Definition of Expropriation

Expropriation in legal terms refers to the act of acquiring property or rights from the original owner by a government authority through eminent domain or other legal means. Governments use expropriation for public purposes such as building roads, expanding public transport systems, or creating public spaces like parks.

Expropriation has been in use for centuries and has evolved as an essential component of government operations over time. It is a critical tool to achieve public welfare objectives by allowing the government to acquire land or property for public use. Moreover, it also grants a government the power to issue licenses or permits for particular activities, restricting the rights of the owner.

Examples of Expropriation

  1. A government expropriated and demolished private housing for public infrastructure development, like a highway or a power line.
  2. A government seizes a piece of land to set up a military base or defense-related installation.
  3. An organization may need to expropriate intellectual property rights like patents or copyrights to create a product/service without the owner's consent.

Legal Terms Similar to Expropriation

  1. Eminent Domain: The legal power of the government to take property for public use with just compensation.
  2. Nationalization: The act of taking private property, including land, assets, and businesses, under state control.
  3. Confiscation: The act of forcibly taking property from individual(s) or organization(s) for violating the law.