Dominum Utile Law and Legal Definition

Dominum utile means the right to use something. In Latin, dominum means domain or area of rule, and utile means use or utility. The term dominum utile is connected with feudal law. When a sovereign parcels out land to tenants, the sovereign will be superior over the land. The tenants can sublet the land to vassals who work on the parcels of land. The vassals will be the holders of the right of dominum utile. The vassals will possess the right to use and keep the benefits from the land. Therefore, vassals will have right to live in the land, and can keep profits from agriculture in the land.

The holders of the dominum utile are considered inferior class of people. They have no right to transfer the property. However, a holder of dominum utile was allowed to transfer the property to an heir on death of the vassal.