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In property law, alienation is the voluntary act of an owner of some property disposing of the property, while alienability, or being alienable, is the capacity for a piece of property or a property right to be sold or otherwise transferred from one party to another. Most property is alienable, but some may be subject to restraints on alienation. In England under the feudal system, land was generally transferred by subinfeudation and alienation required licence from the overlord. Some objects are incapable of being regarded as property and are inalienable, such as people and body parts. Aboriginal title is one example of inalienability (save to the Crown) in common law jurisdictions. A similar concept is non-transferability, such as tickets. Rights commonly described as a licence or permit are generally only personal and are not assignable. However, they are alienable in the sense that they can generally be surrendered.
English common law traditionally protected freehold landowners from unsecured creditors. In 1732, the Parliament of Great Britain passed legislation entitled “The Act for the More Easy Recovery of Debts in His Majesty’s Plantations and Colonies in America”, which required all real property in British America to be treated as chattel for debt collection purposes. The legislation was reenacted by many statehouses after the American Revolution, leading to the more commodified and transferable development of American property law.
- Busby, John C (23 September 2009). "Alienable". LII / Legal Information Institute.
- "alienable - Definition of alienable in English by Oxford Dictionaries". Oxford Dictionaries - English.
- "What is ALIENABLE? definition of ALIENABLE (Black's Law Dictionary)". 4 November 2011.
- "What is ALIENATION? definition of ALIENATION (Black's Law Dictionary)". 4 November 2011.
- Priest, Claire (2006). "Creating an American Property Law: Alienability and Its Limits in American History" (PDF). Harvard Law Review. 120: 385. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
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