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In ecclesiastical law, one of the formalities by which an archbishop confirms the election of a bishop. During the feudal ages, the rite by which an overlord granted a portion of his lands to his vassal.

The investiture ceremony, which took place in the presence of other vassals, consisted of the vassal taking an oath of fealty to the overlord who, in turn, gave him a clod of dirt or a twig, symbolic of the open and notorious transfer of possession of the land. The ritual, used at a time when writing and record keeping were not widely practiced, fixed the date of the vassal's acquisition of the land and, in cases of disputes over the land, provided a source of evidence in the form of testimony of the vassals who witnessed the proceedings.



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

INVESTITURE, estates. The act of giving possession of lands by actual seisin When livery of seisin was made to a person by the common law he was invested with the whole fee; this, the foreign feudists and sometimes 'our own law writers call investiture, but generally speaking, it is termed by the common law writers, the seisin of the fee. 2 Bl. Com. 209, 313; Feame on Rem. 223, n. (z).
     2. By the canon law investiture was made per baculum et annulum, by the ring and crosier, which were regarded as symbols of the episcopal jurisdiction. Ecclesiastical and secular fiefs were governed by the same rule in this respect that previously to investiture, neither a bishop, abbey or lay lord could take possession of a fief. conferred upon them previously to investiture by the prince.
     3. Pope Gregory VI. first disputed the right of sovereigns to give investiture of ecclesiastical fiefs, A. D. 1045, but Pope Gregory VII. carried. on the dispute with much more vigor, A. D. 1073. He excommunicated the emperor, Henry IV. The Popes Victor III., Urban II. and Paul II., continued the contest. This dispute, it is said, cost Christendom sixty- three battles, and the lives of many millions of men. De Pradt.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
The distinction between investitive decrees and disputes that arise over existing relations or status should help the lower courts to maintain a properly narrow view of the scope of the domestic relations exception after Ankenbrandt.
In particular, as we have argued, the federal courts should refrain from entertaining original applications for the entry of non-contentious investitive decrees, such as marriages, consensual separations and divorces, adoptions, and other matters in which the parties voluntarily agree to a change in their legal status.
(100) The class of judgments that encapsulates divorce decrees involves only a change in one's status and has been labeled constitutive or investitive. Id.
So far as a judgment declares a marriage null at the request of a party, it may be considered investitive or constitutive, i.e., a change in status, and no more, has been effected.
(246) See supra note 100 and accompanying text (discussing the investitive, or divestitive, nature of divorce proceedings).
(247) An "investitive" decree is best understood as a judgment that "effect[s] a change of status and [is] primarily a source of new jural relations...." Borchard, supra note 99, at 4-5 (footnote omitted).
(248) A divorce may be similarly characterized as "investitive" as it works a change in status.
(253) See Borchard, supra note 99, at 4-5 (discussing the investitive nature of divorce decrees).
(12) We think the inability of federal courts to exercise non-contentious investitive jurisdiction over matters of state law helps to explain the domestic relations exception.