At various times in the course of human social interaction, the question as to who owns a lost and found item has been a reoccurring issue. This article shall seek to address this important issue from the point of law.
A real life situation was created whereby a man lost an old and well cherished diamond chain and pendant worth several sums of dollars. The lost item in question was an object of inheritance from his great grandmother which got missing under an unexplainable circumstance. The said chattel may be regarded as of inestimable value to the man.
Several years later, an old farmer who was hired to work on a farm and while in the course of ground digging suddenly discovered and find the aforementioned lost jewelry to his astonishment.
The question now arose as to whom among the three persons is the rightful owner of the lost and found item in question?
While some school of teachings are of the opinion that the farmer may exercise an exclusive right of possession vice a vize ownership claim in respect of the lost and item, some other people are also of the opinion that the owner of the farm who has engaged the service of the farmer in the first instance is the rightful and legal owner based on the legal principle of “quid quid plantator, solo solo cedit” which literally mean that “He who owns the land owns whatever that is attached to the said land”.
But the better position of the law with regards to this dicey situation has always been that a finder of a lost piece of item whether found lying on the ground surface or embedded under the soil can rightly maintain a rightful claim of owner in respect of such lost item to the exclusion of any other person on earth unless and until the real owner emerged with a better proof of ownership title as against the said finder.
Emmanuel Bada – An Attorney-at-law, Solicitor, Chartered Mediator and Conciliator, Motivational Speaker, Consultant on Personal Development and Leadership Training and skill acquisition, an extrovert, my philosophy about life is rendering gratuitous service to humanity and touching lives positively.
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