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Moiety title is a legal term describing a portion other than a whole of ownership of property. The word derives from Old French moitié, "half" (the word has the same meaning in modern French), from Latin medietas ("middle"), from medius.
In English law, the term is used in parsing aspects of ownership and liability in all forms of property.
In the Australian system of land title, the term is typically applied to maisonettes or attached cottages whereby the owner owns a share of the total land on the title and leases a certain portion of the land back for themselves from the other owner(s). Some finance institutions do not offer loans for properties on moiety titles as security.
Moiety is a Middle English word for one of two equal parts under the feudal system. Thus on the death of a feudal baron with only two daughters as heiresses, a moiety of his fiefdom would generally pass to each daughter, to be held by her husband. This would involve the division of the barony, generally consisting of several manors, into two groups of manors, which division would presumably be effected by negotiation between the two parties concerned. Such was the case in the barony of Newmarch, the caput or chief manor of which was at North Cadbury, Somerset, when James de Newmarch died in 1216. Such a division into moieties was unnecessary when a noble died with surviving male issue (including grandsons or great-grandsons via the male-only line), with instead the applicable default principle being that of primogeniture.
Offices of state
Not only landholdings but also the holding of offices of state could devolve by moiety. In the Royal Court of the United Kingdom, one moiety of the ancient office of Lord Great Chamberlain is a hereditary office of the Cholmondeley family. This hereditary office came into the Cholmondeley family through the marriage of the first Marquess of Cholmondeley to Lady Georgiana Charlotte Bertie, daughter of Peregrine Bertie, 3rd Duke of Ancaster and Kesteven. The second, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh holders of the marquessate have all held this office.
- Collins Dictionary of the English Language, 2nd ed., London, 1986
- Smith et al. v. Stokes (1 East 363. August 28, 1801). Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Court of King's Bench: With Tables of the Names of the Cases and Principal Matters, p. 183.
- Legal Services Commission of South Australia: "Titles"
- Blackstone, William. (2003). Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England, p. 435.
- Sanders, I. J. English Baronies: A Study of their Origin and Descent 1086–1327, Oxford, 1960. North Cadbury, p.68
- Notes and Queries (1883 Jan-Jun), p. 42.
- Portcullis: Deed of Covenant and Agreement between Lord Willoughby de Eresby, The Dowager Marchioness of Cholmondeley and the Marquis of Cholmondeley re the exercise of the Office of Hereditary Great Chamberlain (16 May 1829).
- Blackstone, William (2004). Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England. London: The Lawbook Exchange. ISBN 1-58477-361-8, ISBN 978-1-58477-361-0.
- East, Edward Hyde (1845). Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Court of King's Bench: With Tables of the Names of the Cases and Principal Matters. Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard.
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