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The fact of being habitually employed in a certain manner. In real property law, a right held by an individual (called a cestui que use) to take the profits arising from a particular parcel of land that was owned and possessed by another individual.

For example, a seller of goods might make an Implied Warranty of fitness for a particular use, which signifies that an item or a product is fit to be used for a specific purpose, such as a tire meant for use in the snow.

The cestui que use received the benefits from the property even though title to such land was in another individual. This theory is no longer part of the U.S. legal system; however, the modern law of trusts evolved from the law relating to uses.


Product Liability; Sales Law.

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


n. 1) the right to enjoy the benefits of real property or personal property, (but primarily used in reference to real property) whether the owner of the right has ownership of title or not. 2) historically, under English Common Law "use" of real property became extremely important since title could not be conveyed (transferred) outside a family line due to "restraints on alienation," so "use" of the property was transferred instead.

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

USE, estates. A confidence reposed in another, who was made tenant of the land or terre tenant, that he should dispose of the land according to the intention of the cestui que use, or him to whose use it was granted, and suffer him to take the profits. Plowd. 352; Gilb. on Uses, 1; Bac. Tr. 150, 306; Cornish on Uses, 1 3; 1 Fonb. Eq. 363; 2 Id. 7; Sanders on Uses, 2; Co. Litt. 272, b; 1 Co. 121; 2 Bl. Com. 328; 2 Bouv. Inst. n. 1885, et seq.
     2. In order to create a use, there must always be a good Consideration; though, when once raised, it may be passed by grant to a stranger, without consideration. Doct. & Stu., Dial. ch. 22, 23; Rob. Fr. Conv. 87, n.
     3. Uses were borrowed from the fidei commissum (q.v.) of the civil law; it was the duty of a Roman magistrate, the praetor fidei commissarius, whom Bacon terms the particular chancellor for uses, to enforce the observance of this confidence. Inst. 2, 23, 2.
     4. Uses were introduced into England by the ecclesiastics in the reign of Edward Ill or Richard II, for the purpose of avoiding the statutes of mortmain; and the clerical chancellors of those times held them to be fidei commissa, and binding in conscience. To obviate many inconveniencies and difficulties, which had arisen out of the doctrine and introduction of uses, the statute of 274 Henry VIII, c. 10, commonly called the statute of uses, or in conveyances and pleadings, the statute for transferring uses into possession, was passed. It enacts, that "when any person shall be seised of lands, &c., to the use, confidence or trust of any other person or body politic, the person or corporation entitled to the use in fee simple, fee tail, for life, or years, or otherwise, shall from thenceforth stand and be seised or possessed of the land, &c., of and in the like estate as they have in the use, trust or confidence; and that the estates of the persons so seised to the uses, shall be deemed to be in him or them that have the use, in such quality, manner, form and condition, as they had before in the use." The statute thus executes the use; that is, it conveys the possession to the use, and transfers the use to the possession; and, in this manner, making the cestui que use complete owner of the lands and tenements, as well at law as in equity. 2 Bl. Com. 333; 1 Saund. 254, note 6.
     5. A modern use has been defined to be an estate of right, which is acquired through the operation of the statute of 27 Hen. VIII., c. 10; and which, when it may take effect according to the rules of the common law, is called the legal estate; and when it may not, is denominated a use, with a term descriptive of its modification. Cornish on Uses, 35.
     6. The common law judges decided, in the construction of this statute, that a use could not be raised upon a use; Dyer, 155 A; and that on a feoffment to A and his heirs, to the use of B and his heirs, in trust for C and his heirs, the statute executed only the first use, and that the second was a mere nullity. The judges also held that, as the statute mentioned only such persons as were seised to the use of others, it did not extend to a term of years, or other chattel interests, of which a termor is not seised but only possessed. Bac. Tr. 336; Poph. 76; Dyer, 369; 2 Bl. Com. 336; The rigid literal construction of the statute by the courts of law again opened the doors of the chancery courts. 1 Madd. Ch. 448, 450.

USE, civil law. A right of receiving so much of the natural profits of a thing as is necessary to daily sustenance; it differs from usufruct, which is a right not only to use but to enjoy. 1 Browne's Civ. Law, 184; Lecons Elem. du Dr. Civ. Rom. Sec. 414, 416.

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