Pedis possessio

PEDIS POSSESSIO. A foothold, an actual possession. To constitute adverse possession there must be pedis possessio, or a substantial enclosure. 2 Bouv. Inst. n. 2193; 2 N. & M. 343.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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This protection stems from the legal doctrine of pedis possessio. Under this common-law doctrine, courts have consistently held that claimants have a superior right to exclusively work a claim site even without a valid discovery, so long as they continue to occupy and work the site in attempting to perfect discovery.