Jus Publicum Law and Legal Definition

Jus Publicum refers to legal rights enjoyed by all citizens. It is used in reference to the right of the public to access shorelines for fishing, boating, swimming, water skiing and other related purposes. It refers to the principle that the public has an overriding interest in the navigable waterways and the lands under them.

The following is an example of a case law (Supreme Court of Washington) discussing Jus Publicum:

The state's ownership of tidelands and shorelands is historically referred to as the jus publicum or public authority interest. The principle that the public has an overriding interest in navigable waterways and lands under them is at least as old as the Code of Justinian, promulgated in Rome in the fifth century A.D. It is also found in the English common law, from whence our own common law is derived, as early as the 13th century A.D. The concept is a part of the established common law of the United States and, is stated with clarity in the seminal opinions of this court interpreting Const. art. 17, § 1. This jus publicum interest as expressed in the English common law and in the common law of this State from earliest statehood, is composed of the right of navigation and the fishery. More recently, this jus publicum interest was more particularly expressed by this court in Wilbour v. Gallagher, 77 Wn.2d 306, 316, 462 P.2d 232, 40 A.L.R.3d 760 (1969), cert. denied, 400 U.S. 878 (1970) as the right of navigation, together with its incidental rights of fishing, boating, swimming, water skiing, and other related recreational purposes generally regarded as corollary to the right of navigation and the use of public waters. [Caminiti v. Boyle, 107 Wn.2d 662, 668-669 (Wash. 1987)]