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The Right of a Bona Fide Occupant of Land to Compensation for His Improvements, 16 Central Law Journal 321 (1883)


It may be observed, in the first place, that the civil law afforded protection to the bona fide occupant of land, who had made useful or permanent improvements on the land, believing himself to be the true owner. The civil law never permitted one who was in the possession of land in good faith, to be turned out of his possession by the rightful owner, without any compensation for the additional value he has given to the soil by the improvements he had made; but it allowed him to offset the value of his improvements to the extent, at least, of the rents and profits claimed. He was not entitled to compensation for all his expenditures upon the estate, but only for such as had enhanced its value. This principle, too, was adopted into the law of those modern nations whose jurisprudence was derived from the Roman law: into that of France, and Spain, and Scotland.

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