12/07/16 Lost Property, Mislaid Property, and Abandoned Property

e-legal lesson

At common law, these descriptions of property found by someone other than its original owner operated to govern its disposition. The distinctions are still valid in many English-speaking jurisdictions.
Property is said to be lost when the owner has involuntarily relinquished possession of it, usually by accident or forgetfulness, and cannot or is highly unlikely to recover it by diligent search.
Property is mislaid when the owner has purposefully put it in a place and then forgotten it, but may find it by diligent searching.
It is abandoned if the owner has knowingly forsaken his interest in the property.