Expropriation Definition

Expropriation is the forced assumption of ownership of private property by a government, often without fair compensation. Nationalization is expropriation by a national government.


For information on:

* history of expropriation, see Nationalization

* expropriation against Native Americans, see Native Law in the U.S.

* expropriation for the purpose of land reform, see The Regime of Paz Estenssoro

* expropriation of industry and natural resources, see Mexican Revolution; Mohammad Mossadegh; Suez Canal: Nationalization

* appropriation by due process of law, with compensation, see Eminent Domain

Main Source: Expropriation, Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2000

Summary of Expropriation

The seizure of private property by the state. Most countries have legal provisions empowering state agencies to take private property for public purpose, usually upon payment of suitable compensation. In Anglo-American usage, this practice is known as eminent domain. Expropriation differs from eminent domain, in international usage, as an arbitrary act, often motivated by political objectives, and rarely providing for compensation reflective of the property seized. See Act Of State Doctrine.

(Main Author: William J. Miller)

See Also


Expropriation in Constitutional Law

From the Comparative Constitutions Project: The government’s act of taking title to property owned by a private party without that party’s consent under the authority of a law or statute.

Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (a U.S. piece of legislation)

In relation to the international law practice and Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (a U.S. piece of legislation) in this world legal Encyclopedia, please see the following section:

Privileges and Immunities

About this subject:

Service of Process

Note: there is detailed information and resources under these topics during the year 2013, covered by this entry on Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (a U.S. piece of legislation) in this law Encyclopedia.


Embracing mainstream international law, this section on expropriation explores the context, history and effect of the area of the law covered here.

Expropriation in Private International Law

This section contain conflict of laws information and cross references related to expropriation on some major countries and additional jurisdictions. It covers key issues involved when citizens face international situations. Information on private international law cases and courts related to expropriation is provided here. Details on private international law books are available here.


See Also

  • Enterprise
  • Joint Enterprise
  • Joint Venture


See Also

Further Reading

  • Eva-Maria Kieninger, “Expropriation”, Encyclopedia of Private International Law, Edward Elgar, 2017


Further Reading

  • The entry “expropriation” in the Parry and Grant Encyclopaedic Dictionary of International Law (currently, the Encyclopaedic Dictionary of International Law, 2009), Oxford University Press

Hierarchical Display of Expropriation

Law > Civil law > Ownership


Concept of Expropriation

See the dictionary definition of Expropriation.

Characteristics of Expropriation

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Translation of Expropriation

Thesaurus of Expropriation

Law > Civil law > Ownership > Expropriation

See also

  • Denationalisation
  • Privatization


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