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Updated: Jun 29, 2021



Domicile means 'permanent home.' It is a place where a person has voluntarily fixed the habitation of himself and of his family with the present intention-of making it his permanent home. (Cheshire: Private International Law), . Domicile is of two kinds: Domicile of origin and domicile of choice. Domicile of origin is communicated at birth by operation of law. But,

domicile of choice could be acquired by any person (who is not a minor), by changing his place to a new place with the animus (intention) to acquire the domicile of that place. Long residence alone will not suffice. He must have the intention to acquire new domicile.

The leading cases are : (i) Winans Vs. A.G. (ii) Ramsay Vs. Live,t Pool Royal Infirmary. .(iii) Jopp Vs. Wood, (iv) Bell Vs. Kennedy, (v) White Vs. Tennant. (vi) Udny Vs. Udny.

( i) Winans Vs. A. G. : Winans was born in the United States. For sometime he did his father's business then for 9 years he served in Russia, then for some years he was visiting Engiaud Scotland and Russia. He then lived in a rented house in London, and then he died.

Held, though he had stayed for 37 years in England, he had no intention to have it as his permanent home. Hence, it was held that Winans had his U.S. domicile.

(ii) In Ramsay's case: one Bowie had left a will. The will was valid if the testators domicile was Scottish, and invalid if the domicile was English. B was born in Glasgow and therefore had domicile of origin as Scottish. Has went to England when he was 27, and stayed there for 36 years and died. Held, B had died with Scottish domicile, as there was no animus to acquire English domicile.

(iii) In Whit e Vs. Tennant, 'A' abandoned his place 'X' and moved to State'Y'with his family with intention to live there permanently. A returned to his place 'X' for a day's stay but died. Question was about the domicile of A, Held, A died with the domicil© at 'YV There was animus and change of permanent home to place Y,

Domicile of Choice and of Origin

Distinguished.- Domicile of Origin is acquired at birth by operation of law. It is tenacious and cannot easily shaken off (Add Winan's case, Ramsay's case). When a person after attaining majority acquires domicile of choice, the Domicile of origin will be in abeyance; as soon as the person abandons his domicile ©f choice, the domicile of origin revives and fastens the person (Udny Vs. Udny). Domicile of choice is acquired voluntarily by a person who has attained majority, If he abandons this, he immediately gets his domicile of origin. He may acquire some other domicile of choice, if he so desires. Domicile determines the 'Status' of an individual. Validity of marriage, divorce, legitimacy, testate (under a will) and intestate (without a will) succession are determined according to domicile. No person can have two domiciles simultaneously.

Application of domicile: (i) In India, succession to immovable property of a deceased person is governed by the law of India: (Lex situs).

(ii) Succession to movable property is governed by the person's domicile at the time of his death.

E.g. A an Englishman domiciled in France, dies in India leaving movables and immovable in India. His movables are governed by French Law, but his immovable are governed by the Law of India (Indian Succession Act). Major Exceptions : The rules relating to domicile contained in the indian Succession Act are not applicable to Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists Jains and Sikhs.

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