What is Domicile?
Domicile is a legal term used to refer to the permanent or legal address (place or country) of an individual. In business, domicile is the place or country in which a business is registered or has been incorporated.
Domicile will be the business’ registered address or its registered office. The address or office is, by law, the place where the business conducts its respective activities and where the business’ day-to-day operations occur.
It can also be used in banking wherein a bill of exchange has been drawn up. The place where the bill is payable is the domicile.
- Domicile is a legal term used to refer to the permanent or legal address (place or country) of an individual.
- In business, domicile is the place or country in which a business is registered or has been incorporated.
- It can also be used in banking in an instance where a bill of exchange has been drawn up. The place where the bill is payable is the domicile.
History and Laws Behind Domicile
As per law, each natural person can only have one domicile at a time, and that no person can be without a domicile. In 1869, the conditions under which an individual can change his or her domicile were explained in the Udny v Udny case.
Following the principle that every natural person should have a domicile, once a person is born, he or she assumes the legal domicile of his father or mother. In a case where the child born is considered to be legitimate, he or she assumes his or her father’s domicile.
However, in an instance where the child is said to be illegitimate, he or she will assume the mother’s domicile. It is known as the domicile of origin.
Another domicile is the domicile of choice. Once an individual is legally able to make his or her own decisions and is considered to be of legal age, he or she can choose another domicile.
Once the individual has legally chosen a domicile, his or her domicile of origin is renounced, and it remains in temporary suspension in the continuation of the chosen domicile.
The domicile of origin can be reinstated in cases where another domicile is not present. The domicile of origin cannot be entirely eliminated or permanently relinquished, as would be the case with a domicile of choice.
A domicile of choice is selected through a person having intentions to make a selected address his or her domicile and taking the necessary actions to occupy the place. This is to say that he or she should physically be residing in the chosen place.
As per law and referencing back to Udny v Udny, an individual has to voluntarily select a sole residence with an unending intention to reside and continue to reside there.
The domicile of choice must be chosen freely and not due to external forces such as by requirement of creditors, support and relief of sickness, or duties of the office. Moreover, the chosen place should be for a fixed residence and not for a definite period. It should be indefinite, in terms of duration and future residence.
Furthermore, there are a few instances or acts of law that may result in the extinguishment of the domicile of origin and domicile of choice. The acts include the conviction of a death sentence, being exiled, and in certain scenarios, outlawry.
The domicile of origin, however, cannot be extinguished by the acts of the respective individual.
Types of Domiciles and How They Are Acquired
In accordance with the circumstances of an individual and the type of domicile, the methods of the domicile acquisition have been commonly based on the following:
Domicile of origin
Domicile of origin can be the domicile of the father (where the father was still alive upon the birth of the child), the domicile of the mother (where the child was considered illegitimate or where the father of the child was not alive upon the birth of the child).
Also, where the parents of the child are not present or known, the domicile of origin would be where the child was found.
Domicile of choice
Domicile of choice can be a place where a child who has reached the age of maturity has settled in, accompanied by the intention to make the chosen place a permanent home.
Should an individual leave a domicile of choice to move to another state, place, or jurisdiction, their domicile will revert to their domicile of origin until they have intentionally settled in the new place indefinitely.
Domicile of dependency
Domicile of dependency can be a child’s domicile in a scenario where their parent (with whom they live until they have reached the age of maturity) has acquired a different domicile of choice. In cases of marriage, the domicile of the husband is acquired by his wife.
Domicile of dependency is also acquired by an individual who is born mentally debilitated or who became mentally debilitated while still being a minor and is therefore dependent on another person(s) until he or she is no longer considered to be mentally debilitated.
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