Possessions and Kinds of Possession

Possession and types of Possession

In law, it is difficult to define the concept of possession because there is no precise definition of possession. Possession means physical control over an object.  It is factual as well as a legal concept. But, we can say that it is the physical custody, control or occupancy of anything with a definite intention of ownership.


Possession means physical control over an object.

Kind of Possessions

Types of possessions according to law are as follows:

  • Corporeal possession.
  • Incorporeal Possession.
  • Mediate possession.
  • Immediate possession.
  • Constructive possession.
  • Adverse possession.
  • De facto possession.
  • De jure possession.

Corporeal possession

Possession of a material or tangible objects is called corporeal possession, thus it is continuing exercise of a claim on the use of material or tangible object. For Example House, car, cycle, pen, etc.

Incorporeal Possession

Incorporeal possession is the possession of intangible object or non-material objects. Thus, it is continuing exercise of a claim on the use of non-material or intangible object. For example Trademark, goodwill, patent, copyright, etc.

Mediate Possession or indirect possession

Possession of things through a mediator (middleman) like an agent, friend or servant is called medicate possession. It is also called indirect possession.If a house owner let his house to a tenant. The tenant is bound to hand over the house to the owner of house whenever he decides. So the owner of house has the mediate possession of the house through the tenant.

Immediate Possession/direct possession

When a possessor himself possesses the thing, we call it immediate possession. For example:  when anybody buys a pen from a shop and keep it for himself.  The pen is in the immediate possession of himself.

Constructive Possession

When anybody gives his possession to anybody for any purpose is called constructive possession. For example when I give key of my car to driver.  Here my driver was the constructive possessor of my car until he delivers me the key.

Adverse Possession

Adverse possession means the possession of some property or object, without legal title, for a specific time period, sufficient to become acknowledged legal owner. For example Continuous use of private land or driveway or agricultural field of an unused piece of land.

De-facto Possession

De facto possession means the possession which exists in reality even if it is not legally recognized. For example, A common law spouse can be considered as a de facto wife or de facto husband though they are not lawfully married, yet they live like a married couple.

De Jure Possession

De jure possessions are legally recognized possessions whether it exists in reality or not.  It is also known as juridical possession meaning possession in the eyes of law. For example, An owner of the house could cease a man to live in a house but without intending and to abandon it for good. It is a case of De jure possession.

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