Legal Definition of Thing
By this word is understood every object, except man, which may become an active subject of right.3 min read
Definitions of "Thing"
- Obs. The assembly of free-men and/or barons of Sweden.
- By this word is understood every object, except man, which may become an active subject of right. In this sense it is opposed, in the language of the law, to the word persons.
Categories of Things
Things, by the common law, are divided into:
- Things real, which are such as are permanent, fixed and immovable, and which cannot be carried from place to place; they are usually said to consist in lands, tenements and hereditaments.
- Things personal, include all sorts of things movable which attend a man's person wherever he goes. Things personal include not only things movable, but also something more, the whole of which is generally comprehended under the name of chattels. Chattels are distinguished into two kinds, namely, chattels real and chattels personal.
It is proper to remark that sometimes it depends upon the destination of certain objects, whether they are to be considered personal or real property.
Formerly, in England, a very low and contemptuous opinion was entertained of personal property, which was regarded as only a transient commodity. But of late years different ideas have been entertained of it; and the courts, both in that country, and in this, now regard a man's personal property in a light, nearly, if not quite equal to his realty; and have adopted a more enlarged and still Iess technical mode of considering the one than the other, frequently drawn from the rules which they found already established by the Roman law, wherever those rules appear to be well-grounded and apposite to the case in question, but principally from reason and convenience, adapted to the circumstances of the times.
By the Roman or civil law, things are either in patrimonio, capable of being possessed by single persons exclusive of others; or extra patrimonium, incapable of being so possessed.
Things In Patrimonio
Things in patrimonio are divided into corporeal and incorporeal, and the corporeal again into movable and immovable.
Corporeal things are those which are visible and tangible, as lands, houses, horses, jewels, and the like; incorporeal are not the object of sensation, but are the creatures of the mind, being rights issuing out of a thing corporeal, or concerning or exercisable within the same; as, an obligation, a hypothecation, a servitude, and, in general, that which consists only in a certain right.
Corporeal things are either movable or immovable. The movable are those which have been separated from the earth, as felled trees, or gathered fruits, or stones dug out from quarries or those which are naturally separated, as animals. Immovable things are those parts of the surface of the earth, in whatever manner the way be distinguished, either as building, woods, meadows, fields, or otherwise, and to whomsoever they may belong. Under the name of immovables is included everything which adheres to the surface of the earth, either by its nature, as trees; or which has been erected by the hands of man, as houses and other buildings, although, by being separated, such things way become movables.
Things Extra Patrimonium
Things extra patrimonium are:
- Res universitatis.
- Res nullius.
Things common are, the heavens, light, air, and the sea, which cannot be appropriated by any man or set of men, so as to deprive others from the. use of them.
Things public, res publicae, the property of which was in the state, and their use common to all the members of it, as navigable rivers, ways, bridges, harbors, banks, and the right of fishing.
Res universitatis, or things belonging to cities or bodies politic. Such things belong to the corporation or body politic in respect of the property of them; but as to their use, they appertain to those persons that are of the corporation or body politic: such may be theatres, market houses, and the like. They differ from things public, inasmuch as the latter belong to a nation. The lands or other revenue belonging to a corporation, do not fall under this class, but, are juris privati.
Res nullius, or things which are not the property of any man or number of men, are principally those of divine right; they are of three sorts: things sacred, things religious, and things sanct. Things sacred were those which were duly and publicly consecrated by the priests, as churches, their ornaments, etc. Things religious were those places which became so by burying in them a dead body, even though no consecration of these spots by a priest had taken place. Things sanct were those which by certain reverential awe arising from their nature, something augmented by religious ceremonies, were guarded and defended from the injuries of men; such were the gates and walls of a city, offences against which were capitally punished.