tenure

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Tenure

A right, term, or mode of holding or occupying something of value for a period of time.

In feudal law, the principal mode or system by which a person held land from a superior in exchange for the rendition of service and loyalty to the grantor.

The status given to an educator who has satisfactorily completed teaching for a trial period and is, therefore, protected against summary dismissal by the employer.

A length of time during which an individual has a right to occupy a public or private office.

In a general sense, the term tenure describes the length of time that a person holds a job, position, or something of value. In the context of academic employment, tenure refers to a faculty appointment for an indefinite period of time. When an academic institution gives tenure to an educator, it gives up the right to terminate that person without good cause.

In medieval England, tenure referred to the prevailing system of land ownership and land possession. Under the tenure system, a landholder, called a tenant, held land at the will of a lord, who gave the tenant possession of the land in exchange for a good or service provided by the tenant. The various types of arrangements between the tenant and lord were called tenures. The most common tenures provided for military service, agricultural work, economic tribute, or religious duties in exchange for land.

Cross-references

Feudalism.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

tenure

n. 1) in real property, the right to possess the property. 2) in employment contracts, particularly of public employees like school teachers or professors, a guaranteed right to a job (barring substantial inability to perform or some wrongful act) once a probationary period has passed.

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

tenure

the holding or occupying of property, especially realty, in return for services rendered, etc. See, for example FEUDAL SYSTEM.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

TENURE, estates. The manner in which lands or tenements are holden.
     2. According to the English law, all lands are held mediately or immediately from the king, as lord paramount and supreme proprietor of all the lands in the kingdom. Co. Litt. 1 b, 65 a; 2 Bl. Com. 105.
     3. The idea of tenure; pervades, to a considerable degree, the law of real property in the several states; the title to land is essentially allodial, and every tenant in fee simple has an absolute and perfect title, yet in technical language, his estate is called an estate in fee simple, and the tenure free and common socage. 3 Kent, Com. 289, 290. In the states formed out of the North Western Territory, it seems that the doctrine of tenures is not in force, and that real estate is owned by an absolute and allodial title. This is owing to the wise provisions on this subject contained in the celebrated ordinance of 1787. Am. Jur. No. 21, p. 94, 5. In New York, 1 Rev. St. 718; Pennsylvania, 5 Rawle, R. 112; Connecticut, 1 Rev. L. 348 and Michigan, Mich. L. 393, feudal tenures have been abolished, and lands are held by allodial titles. South Carolina has adopted the statute, 12 C. II., c. 24, which established in England the tenure of free and common socage. 1 Brev. Dig. 136. Vide Wright on Tenures; Bro. h.t.; Treatises of Feuds and Tenures by Knight's service; 20 Vin Ab. 201; Com. Dig. h.t.; Bac. Ab. h. Thom. Co. Litt. Index, h.t.; Sulliv. Lect. Index, h.t.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.