Hi! Welcome to “Dusty Phrases.” You will find below an ancient phrase in one language or another, along with its English translation. You may also find the power to inspire your friends or provoke dread among your enemies.
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Cuius est solum eius est usque ad coelum et ad infernos
Whoever owns the soil, it is theirs all the way to Heaven and to Hell
This Medieval property law idea is still adhered to (for the most part) in the United States today. Many attorneys spend their careers practicing in this areas.
Cuius est solum, eius est usque ad coelum et ad inferos (Latin for “whoever’s is the soil, it is theirs all the way to Heaven and all the way to Hell”) is a principle of property law, stating that property holders have rights not only to the plot of land itself, but also the air above and (in the broader formulation) the ground below. The principle is often referred to in its abbreviated form as the ad coelum doctrine.
In modern law, this principle is still accepted in limited form; the rights are divided into air rights above and subsurface rights below. Property title includes to the space immediately above and below the ground – preventing overhanging parts of neighboring buildings – but do not have rights to control flights far above the ground or in space. In dense urban areas, air rights may be transferable (see transferable development rights) to allow construction of new buildings over existing buildings.
In some jurisdictions, the ability to exploit mineral rights – as a subset of subsurface rights, beyond a specified depth – is completely separate to property title. In such jurisdictions, these rights are often owned permanently by the state and are leased from it for a fixed time period.
Early versions of the maxim have been traced to the 13th-century Italian jurist Accursius, and is said to date in common law to the time of Edward I. It was more recently promulgated, in broad form (air above and ground below) by William Blackstone in his influential treatise Commentaries on the Laws of England (1766).
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