Eminent Domain

Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Eminent Domain


Quick Summary of Eminent Domain


The power of the federal or state government to take private property for a public purpose, even if the property owner objects. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution allows the government to take private property if the taking is for a public use and the owner is “justly compensated” (usually, paid fair market value) for his or her loss. A public use is virtually anything that is sanctioned by a federal or state legislative body, but such uses may include roads, parks, reservoirs, schools, hospitals or other public buildings. Sometimes called condemnation, taking or expropriation.



What is the dictionary definition of Eminent Domain?

Dictionary Definition


n. the power of a governmental entity (federal, state, county or city government, school district, hospital district or other agencies) to take private real estate for public use, with or without the permission of the owner. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution provides that “private property [may not] be taken for public use without just compensation.” The Fourteenth Amendment added the requirement of just compensation to state and local government takings. The usual process includes passage of a resolution by the acquiring agency to take the property (condemnation), including a declaration of public need, followed by an appraisal, an offer, and then negotiation. If the owner is not satisfied, he/she may sue the governmental agency for a court’s determination of just compensation. The government, however, becomes owner while a trial is pending if the amount of the offer is deposited in a trust account. Public uses include schools, streets and highways, parks, airports, dams, reservoirs, redevelopment, public housing, hospitals and public buildings.


Full Definition of Eminent Domain


Eminent domain is a constitutional provision, through which the government may exercise its power to seize private property for public use without the proprietor’s consent. Eminent domain exists in many countries, including the U.S. In the United States eminent domain is secured by the Fifth Amendment to the constitution. Under eminent domain, the government is required to offer just compensation to the property owner. That usually means that eminent domain will guarantee a fair market value for condemned property. Eminent domain is sanctioned by federal or state government to condemn private property for public use, which may include roads, hospitals, schools, or any other public facilities. Eminent domain is a highly charged legal issue, typically argued on the grounds of what constitutes public use.


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Definition Sources


Definitions for Eminent Domain are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 27th April, 2020 | 3 Views.