Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Sequestration Definition:

The taking of someones property, voluntarily (by deposit) or involuntarily (by seizure), by court officers or into the possession of a third party, awaiting the outcome of a trial in which ownership of that property is at issue.

The temporary placement or isolation of an item of property, the legal rights in which is usually in contest, as ordered by a Court, in the care and control of a neutral party called the sequestrator, receiver, official receiver or depositary.

The Louisiana Civil Code, at §2946, defines it as follows:

"Conventional sequestration takes place when two or more persons by agreement deliver to a depositary a thing, movable or immovable, the rights to which are disputed or uncertain.  In that case, the depositary is bound to deliver the thing according to their agreement or according to a court order."

The Quebec Civil Code provides, at §2305 to 2308, a complete code in regards to sequestration, in stilted legal language typical of the English version of this statute:

"Sequestration is the deposit by which persons place property over which they are in dispute in the hands of another person chosen by them, who binds himself to restore it, once the issue is decided, to the person who will then be entitled to it. The object of sequestration may be immovable property as well as movable property.

"An immovable is handed over by abandoning detention of the immovable to the depositary charged with acting as sequestrator.

"The parties elect the sequestrator by mutual agreement; they may elect one of their number to act as sequestrator. Where the parties disagree on the election of a sequestrator or on certain conditions attached to his duties, they may apply to the court for a ruling on the issue.

"A sequestrator may not make any disbursement or perform any act other than acts of simple administration in respect of the sequestered property unless otherwise stipulated or unless authorized by the court...."

Sometimes, a Court will order the sequestration of specified goods or chattels to be withheld from a person until certain acts are performed, as required by him of the Court.

John Bouvier wrote in his 1856 American Law Dictionary that sequestration means:

"(A) writ ... to commissioners ... authorising them to enter upon the real or personal estate of the defendant, and to take the rents ... and profits into their own hands, and keep possession of or pay the same, as the court shall order or direct, until the party who is in contempt shall do that which he is enjoined to do and which is especially mentioned in the writ."

Sequestration is also a dispute resolution tool in contract law whereby an item in dispute is, by consent, held by a third party until a court of law has decided to whom the item belongs.

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