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An In Depth Eminent Domain Definition

Eminent Domain Defition | Attorneys in Missouri

A broad eminent domain definition would be the power that a state, municipality, or private person has to confiscate property from a private owner for 'public use' or 'public benefit' while providing the property owner ‘just compensation’ for their property.

The eminent domain definition as set by the Fifth Amendment, explains that local, state, or federal governments can seize private property through eminent domain or regulate this process by exercising police power. According to the Fifth Amendment, the government is required to provide just compensation to the property owner in order for eminent domain to be legal.

The eminent domain definition also says that the government must follow condemnation proceedings in order to take a property. These proceedings are held the court, and the government is bound to respect the property owner’s right to due process.

For more details on the eminent domain definition or for a consultation of your case, contact the eminent domain lawyers at The Wallach Law Firm in St. Louis.

History of the Eminent Domain Definition

The concept of eminent domain is not a new concept. In fact, the eminent domain definition dates back even to biblical times. For example, it was recorded that the Samarian King Ahab offered to give Naboth compensation for the vineyards that he had taken.

In 1789, France recognized the right of the property owner to claim compensation for property taken for public use. The French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen says that property is a sacred and inviolable right and the government cannot deprive a person of it, unless it is demanded by public necessity and upon the condition that a just indemnity is paid to the person before the property is taken.

Shortly after the French Declaration, the U.S. also acknowledged the eminent domain definition in the Fifth Amendment. It states that private property shall not be taken for public use, unless just compensation is paid to the property owner.

While the Fifth Amendment granted the power of eminent domain to the Federal government, the Fourteenth Amendment grants private property owners the right to due process. State governments derive the power of eminent domain based on the power vested in them by their state constitutions.

Eminent Domain Defition | Missouri Eminent Domain Attorneys

The Elements of Eminent Domain

According to the basic eminent domain definition, the government cannot exercise its power of eminent domain without the presence of four elements as stated in the Fifth Amendment. These are (1) private property (2) that is confiscated (3) for public use (4) with just compensation. While these four elements must exist, the definition of these elements can be interpreted broadly.

For example, the eminent domain definition of 'public use' was expanded after the Supreme Court decision in the Kelo v. City of New London case. Following this case, the government can exercise its power of eminent domain when a project involves 'public benefit'. This means that if an economic project can lead to the creation of new jobs, increased taxes and other revenues for the city, or infuse new life into a blighted or depressed urban area, it will also quality as public use.

Contact Us to Learn More About the Definition of Eminent Domain in Missouri

While the eminent domain definition seems fairly clear. Eminent domain law can be quite complex. If you are involved in eminent domain litigation, it is best to engage the services of an experienced eminent domain lawyer who can help you understand your rights entirely.

Contact the experts at The Wallach Law Firm in St. Louis to learn more about eminent domain and to learn your rights.

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