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A proceeding instituted to obtain or recover the actual possession of property, as distinguished from a proceeding that merely seeks to establish the plaintiff's title or ownership of property.
In admiralty law, a possessory action is one that is brought to recover the possession of a vessel that is had under a claim of title.
For example, an eviction proceeding is a possessory action to regain control of the property from a tenant.
Under old English Law, a possessory action was used to regain possession of the freehold, of which the plaintiff or the plaintiff's ancestors had been wrongfully deprived by the present tenant or possessor of the property.
POSSESSORY ACTION, old Eng. law. A real action in which the plaintiff called
the demandant, sought to recover the possession of lands, tenements, and
hereditaments. On account of the great nicety required in its management,
and the introduction of more expeditious methods of trying titles by other
actions, it has been laid aside. Finch's Laws, 257; 3 Bouv. Inst. n. 2640.
2. In Louisiana, by this term is understood an action by which one claims to be maintained in the possession of an immovable property, or of a right upon or growing out of it, when he has been disturbed: or to be reinstated to that possession, when he has been divested or evicted. Code of Practice, art. 6; 2 L. R. 227, 454.