Define: Accession

Quick Summary of Accession

Accession, in legal terms, refers to the process by which an individual or entity acquires ownership of property through a gradual addition or improvement to existing property. It involves the incorporation of new or additional elements into an existing object, resulting in a change to the original property’s character or value. Accession can occur through various means, such as natural growth, labor, or improvements made to property.

In property law, the principle of accession typically dictates that the owner of the original property also becomes the owner of any additions or improvements made to that property. However, there are exceptions and legal doctrines that may apply, particularly when multiple parties contribute to the accession or when conflicts arise over ownership rights. Accession is an important concept in property law, as it helps to determine ownership rights, responsibilities, and interests in cases involving mixed or co-mingled property.

What is the dictionary definition of Accession?
Dictionary Definition of Accession

Accession (noun): 1. The act of gaining or acquiring something, especially a position of power or authority. 2. The process of adding new items to a collection, such as a museum or library. 3. The formal acceptance of a treaty, agreement, or other legal document by a government or organisation. 4. The increase in value or worth of an asset, such as property or stocks.

Full Definition Of Accession

Coming into possession of a right or office; increase; augmentation; addition.

The right to all that one’s own property produces, whether that property be movable or immovable; and the right to that which is united to it by accession, either naturally or artificially. The right to own things that become part of something already owned.

A principle derived from the civil law, by which the owner of property becomes entitled to all that it produces and to all that is added or united to it, either naturally or artificially (that is, by the labour or skill of another), even where such addition extends to a change of form or materials; and by which, on the other hand, the possessor of property becomes entitled to it, as against the original owner, where the addition made to it by skill and labour is of greater value than the property itself, or where the change effected in its form is so great as to render it impossible to restore it to its original shape.

Generally, accession signifies the acquisition of title to personal property by bestowing labour on it that converts it into an entirely different thing or by incorporating property into a union with other property.

The commencement or inauguration of a sovereign’s reign.

For example, a person who owns property along a river also takes ownership of any additional land that builds up along the riverbank. This right may extend to additions that result from the work or skill of another person. The buyer of a car who fails to make scheduled payments cannot get back his new spark plugs after the car is repossessed because they have become a part of the whole car. The principle of accession does not necessarily apply, however, where the addition has substantially improved the value and changed the character of the property, as when, by mistake, someone else’s grapes were made into wine or someone else’s clay was made into bricks. In such cases, the original owner might recover only the value of the raw material rather than take ownership of the finished product.

In the context of a treaty, accession may be gained in either of two ways: (1) the new member nation may be formally accepted by all the nations already parties to the treaty; or (2) the new nation may simply bind itself to the obligations already existing in the treaty. Frequently, a treaty will expressly provide that certain nations or categories of nations may accede. In some cases, the parties to a treaty will invite one or more nations to accede to the treaty.

Accession is a legal principle that refers to the acquisition of property through the addition or improvement of another person’s property. It is based on the idea that when a person adds value to someone else’s property, they should be entitled to some form of compensation or ownership rights.

Under the principle of accession, the person who adds value to the property is known as the “accessioner,” while the original owner is referred to as the “principal.” The accessioner may acquire ownership rights over the property if certain conditions are met.

One of the key conditions for accession is that the addition or improvement must be made in good faith. This means that the accessioner must genuinely believe that they have the right to make the addition or improvement, and they must not be aware of any legal obstacles or infringements.

Additionally, the addition or improvement must be substantial and must enhance the value or utility of the property. Minor or insignificant changes may not qualify for accession rights.

The principle of accession also requires that the accessioner does not cause any harm or damage to the principal’s property. If the addition or improvement causes damage, the accessioner may be held liable for the cost of repairs or restoration.

In some cases, the principal may have the right to reclaim the property from the accessioner by reimbursing them for the value of the addition or improvement. This is known as the right of redemption.

Overall, the principle of accession aims to strike a balance between the rights of the original owner and the person who adds value to the property. It provides a legal framework for determining ownership rights and compensation in situations where property has been enhanced or modified by another person.

Accession FAQ'S

Accession refers to the legal principle whereby a person becomes the owner of additional property through the addition or improvement of their existing property, typically by means of natural growth, labour, or the combination of different materials.

Examples of accession include:

  • A farmer who plants seeds in their field and subsequently becomes the owner of the crops that grow.
  • An artist who creates a sculpture using materials they already own, thereby becoming the owner of the finished artwork.
  • A homeowner who builds a new structure, such as a shed or garage, on their property, thereby gaining ownership of the new structure.

In real property law, accession may occur when improvements or additions are made to land or buildings, such as constructing a fence, building an extension, or planting trees. The owner of the property typically gains ownership of these improvements as part of the land.

Accession is governed by principles of property law, including the doctrine of accession, which outlines the rights and obligations of parties involved in situations where property is added to or improved.

The original owner of property may retain certain rights in cases of accession, including the right to:

  • Claim ownership of the original property.
  • Claim ownership of the accessioned property if it can be separated from the original property without causing damage.
  • Seek compensation or damages if the accession was wrongful or unauthorised.

The party responsible for the addition or improvement (the acceding party) may acquire ownership rights in the new property or improvements, subject to any applicable legal requirements or restrictions.

Disputes in cases of accession may arise when there is uncertainty or disagreement over:

  • Ownership rights in the accessioned property.
  • The value or nature of improvements made.
  • The circumstances under which the accession occurred.
  • Any contractual agreements or legal obligations governing the accession.

Legal disputes involving accession may be resolved through negotiation, mediation, arbitration, or litigation. Courts may consider factors such as the intentions of the parties, the value of the property involved, and any applicable legal principles or precedents.

Yes, accession can apply to personal property as well as real property. For example, when materials are combined to create a new item, such as a piece of furniture or a work of art, the creator may become the owner of the finished product through accession.

If you have questions or concerns about accession or its implications for your property rights, it is advisable to consult with a qualified attorney or legal advisor specialising in property law. They can provide guidance and assistance based on your specific circumstances and applicable laws.

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This site contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. Persuing this glossary does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

This glossary post was last updated: 9th April 2024.

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