Action in Rem Law & Legal Definition


Action in rem is an action to determine title to property and the rights of the parties. Title and rights are determined not merely among the parties to the lawsuit but also against all persons at any time claiming an interest in that property. It determines rights in property that are conclusive against the whole world. Action in rem is directed against real or personal property and can be brought against property of debtors in order to collect what is owed, for partition of real property, foreclosure of mortgages, and for enforcement of liens. Action in rem is permitted by a particular court only when that court has authority over the property or when the courts jurisdiction extends to cover it. Location of the property is important as the court can hold the trial only in the jurisdiction under which the land falls. The judgment can only be against the land and not its owner. Jurisdiction of a court can be exercised, only after parties who are known to have an interest in the property are notified of the proceedings and have been given a chance to present their claim to the court.

In rem is a Latin word which means ‘in the thing itself.’ This is also referred to as real action.