Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Cuius Est Solum Ejus Est Usque Ad Coelum Et Ad Inferos Definition:

Latin: for whoever owns the soil, it is theirs up to heaven and down to hell.

Related Terms: Cuius Est Solum Ejus Est Usque Ad Caelum

The difference between this and the better-known cuius est solum ejus est usque ad coelum are the words et ad inferos, which refer to the extension of ownership rights towards the center of the earth; the where the Romans referred to as inferos (hell).

According to one property law professor, Bruce Ziff, cuius est solum ejus est usque ad coelum et ad inferos is the "traditional starting point" of property law. He translated the maxim as:

"... whoever owns the soil, holds title all the way up to the heavens and down to the depths of the earth....

"The Courts have resisted applying the maxim literally. [I]t is so laden with qualifications that it is best regarded as a fanciful phrase of limited validity".

In Star Energy UK, Justice Aitkens of the Supreme Court of Judicature, Court of Appeal, Civil Division was even more outspoken:

"The owner can only claim title for so far beneath the surface as is reasonable to enjoy his ownership of the surface land. The 13th century Latin maxim cuius est solum, eius est usque ad coelum et ad inferos is not and never has been a rule of English law. It is ... so sweeping, unscientific and unpractical a doctrine as is unlikely to appeal to the common law mind and it has not done so."

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