common recovery

Hist. An elaborate proceeding, full of legal fictions, by which a tenant in tail disentailed a fee-tail estate.

• The action facilitated land transfer by allowing a potential transferee who was barred by law from receiving land to “recover” the land by suing the actual owner. Common recoveries, which were abolished early in the 19th century, were originally concocted by the clergy as a way to avoid the land-conveyance restrictions imposed by mortmain acts.

— Also termed feigned recovery. See MORTMAIN STATUTE. Cf. CESSIO IN JURE; praecipe quod reddat under PRAECIPE.

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