Home >> Bouvier's Law Dictionary >> Photograph to Preliminary Examination >> Postliminium

Postliminium

law, property, recaptured and nations

POSTLIMINIUM (Lat. from post, after, and limen, threshold). A fiction of the civil law, by which persons or things taken by the ene my were restored to their former status on coming again under the power of the nation to which they formerly belonged. Calvinus, Lex.; 1 Kent 108. It is also recognized by the law of nations. But movables are not entitled to the benefit of this rule, by strict law of nations, unless promptly recaptured. If recaptured after twenty-four hours they vest in the recaptor, subject, amongst most nations, to revert in the owner, upon pay ment of military salvage; Risley, Law of War 143.

The rule does not affect property which is brought into a neutral territory ; 1 Kent 108. It is so called from the return of the person or thing over the threshold or bound ary of the country from which it was taken.

When an enemy's military occupation comes to an end, the legal state of things previously existing is deemed to have been in continuous .existence during the occupa tion. Postliminium applies to territory, to private immovable property, and to every kind of property that may not lawfully be seized. But property, public or private, that has been lawfully taken by an enemy, is not subject to the fiction. Acts done once and for all, within an invader's competence to perform, hold good. There is no postlimini

um as regards lawful prize, though it is said there may be by recapture; which, if It oc cur before capture is complete, may have ef fects like those of postliminium, though the latter fiction does not include any idea of salvage; Risley, Law of War 143.

The pa postliminii in international law is derived from a similar thrm in the Roman law by which persons and property captured by an enemy and then recaptured are restor ed to their original owner. The term now applies almost exclusively to property both real and personal which when recaptured does not belong to the recaptor but to the original owner. Snow, Int. Law 116.

It is important to observe the distinction between effects of postliminium accord ing to municipal law and those according to international law. Municipal law determines the conditions upon which private property shall revert to its former owners when it is brought again within the power of the state o which its former owners are citizens. In ternational law determines the general in ternational status of territory, persons and property which, having been under the con trol of the enemy, come again under the con trol of their original sovereign. II Opp. 279-284.