type of legal instrument in Common law
This page relates to the legal document. For the concept of actions performed, see Deeds.

In common law, a deed is any legal instrument in writing which passes, affirms or confirms an interest, right, or property and that is signed, attested, delivered, and in some jurisdictions, sealed. It is commonly associated with transferring (conveyancing) title to property. The deed has a greater presumption of validity and is less rebuttable than an instrument signed by the party to the deed. A deed can be unilateral or bilateral. Deeds include conveyances, commissions, licenses, patents, diplomas, and conditionally powers of attorney if executed as deeds. The deed is the modern descendant of the medieval charter, and delivery is thought to symbolically replace the ancient ceremony of livery of seisin.


  • The Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying, ... "The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine. For you are strangers and sojourners with me."
Quotes reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 233-234.
  • I do not wish to shake titles, and I shall do precisely what our predecessors have always done—leave the case where it is. It is a rock ahead that everybody knows.
  • God forbid, that a man should lose his estate by losing his title deeds.
    • Eyre, C.J., Bolton v. Bishop of Carlisle (1793), 2 H. B. 263.
  • There is not more difference betwixt a grant and feoffment, than betwixt one egg and another.
    • Bridgman, C.J., Jemot v. Cooley (1666), Sir Thos. Raymond's Rep. 159.
  • No man ought to be so absurd as to make a purchase without looking at the title deeds; if he is, he must take the consequence of his own negligence.
  • Immemorial enjoyment is the most solid of all titles.

See also

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