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Bona vacantia means goods without an apparent owner in which no one claims. Such a property belongs to the State.
- Bona vacantia is a Latin term to mean "ownerless goods"
- Examples: Fishes, Shipwrecks, Treasure trove etc.
- According to English Law, all ownerless property passes by law to the Crown.
- The principle behind this system is that there is no unowned property, and if there is no other owner, the property automatically vests in the Crown.
- In Lancaster, when a person dies within the County Palatine without leaving a will and no beneficiary, the Duchy of Lancaster, rather than the Crown, receives their estate as bona vacantia
- This system was largely replaced the Doctrine of Escheat.
- It includes vacant, unclaimed, or stray goods.
- 1 Bl.Comm. 298: Those things in which nobody claims a property, and which belonged, under the common law, to the finder, except in certain instances, when they were the property of the king.
- Bona Peritura - good of perishable nature
- Bona Utlagatorum - good belonging to an outlawed person
- Bona Waviata - good stolen by thief and thrown in his flight