Uti possidetis Law & Legal Definition


Uti Possidetis is a Latin term which means ‘as you possess’. According to this principle of international law, the parties to a treaty can retain possession of what they have acquired by force during the war.

Territories and property can remain in the hands of a belligerent state after a war, unless otherwise provided by a treaty. When a war ends a treaty formed can adopt the principle of uti possidetis, or the principle of status quo ante bellum, or a combination of the two. The principle of status quo ante bellum means ‘the state of things before the war’. If a treaty consists of no condition regarding the possession of property and territory taken by force, the doctrine of uti possidetis will prevail.