Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Emolument Definition:

Wages, benefits or other benefit received as compensation for holding some office or employment.

Initially a civil law term but sometimes used by the common law, to refer to all wages, benefits or other benefit received as compensation for holding some office or employment.

In Mclean v US, Justice McKenna of the United States Supreme Court wrote:

"It is difficult to deal with a distinction between pay and emoluments. Both are rewards or compensation, the one no more than the other....

"They may be called indirect or contingent remuneration ... sometimes in the nature of compensation and sometimes in the nature of reimbursement...."

In Lawless, Justice Henry of Canada's Supreme Court wrote:

"What then is the meaning of emolument in its usual and ordinary acceptation?

"It comes from the participle (emolumentum) of the latin verb emolo, molo to grind, originally meaning (a) toll taken for grinding.

"It is ... the profit arising from office or employment - that which is received as a compensation for services, or which is annexed to the possession of office, as salary, fees and perquisites; profit, advantage, gains in general; and ... emolumental means producing profit, useful, profitable, advantageous.

"Emolument is thus ... the profit arising from office or employment and not merely the gross amount of salary, fees or perquisites, but the balance remaining after deduction of the necessary expenses paid out in earning the salary, fees or perquisites."

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