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Possessory Action

A proceeding instituted to obtain or recover the actual possession of property, as distinguished from a proceeding that merely seeks to establish the plaintiff's title or ownership of property.

In ADMIRALTY LAW, a possessory action is one that is brought to recover the possession of a vessel that is had under a claim of title.

For example, an eviction proceeding is a possessory action to regain control of the property from a tenant.

Under old ENGLISH LAW, a possessory action was used to regain possession of the freehold, of which the plaintiff or the plaintiff's ancestors had been wrongfully deprived by the present tenant or possessor of the property.

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