What is Domicile of a Person


Several myths surround the origins of the idea of domicile. The phrase is sometimes used interchangeably with nationality or residency. The common consensus on domicile is that it is a ‘permanent residence,’ however Lord Cranworth in Whicker v Hume [1]disagreed. The notion of residence is rooted from Roman law in common law. The term domicilium is derived from the Latin domum colere, which means “to foster or occupy the house.” Domicile is classified into three types: Domicile of Origin, Domicile of Choice, and Domicile of Dependence. The rules of domicile of origin adequately reflect societal considerations.

It is given to a person at birth, and because of its tenacity, it is difficult to lose, and it immediately revives whenever the domicile of choice is extinguished. It has shown to be more persistent in the sense that even if a person leaves his country of origin with the intention of never returning, his domicile of origin remains until he acquires a domicile of choice. Corporations, which are entities endowed with legal identity under municipal law, can be compared to physical individuals and, as such, are considered nationals of a certain State. The location of incorporation is considered the corporation’s domicile. The law of the flag governs ships.

What is Domicile?

Domicile in India is one of the prerequisites for obtaining Indian citizenship. The term ‘domicile,’ however, is not defined in the Constitution. In layman’s terms, Domicile refers to a permanent house or a location where a person wishes to dwell indefinitely.

Background of Law of Domicile:

The idea of residence in common law is seen as having its origins in Roman law. The term domicilium is derived from the Latin domum colere, which means “to foster or occupy the house.” Domicile is a location of habitual residency, not just any place of living. The average man’s Diocese held power over him in the Consistory Court in England in ancient times, and a man’s domicile in a Diocese was determined by his habitual residence. Even before the Matrimonial Causes Act, 1857, and the Court of Probate Act, 1857, the Bishop of the Diocese of the domicile exercised ecclesiastical authority, which included probate and matrimonial jurisdiction throughout England. The place where a man resides, his dwelling place, is described in English marriage regulations, and domicilium is a habitation or a residence.

Importance of Domicile:

  • Domicile serves as a link between diverse legal systems.
  • Domicile can be utilised as a jurisdictional connection, which is required for the forum to assume jurisdiction or for the forum to recognise and assume the jurisdiction of a foreign court.
  • Domicile determines an individual’s right to vote, his eligibility to hold public office, his entitlement to help for different needs such as illness or unemployment, and his tax responsibility.
  • There is no such thing as a person who does not have a domicile since it is required to connect a person with some legal system in order to manage his legal interactions.

Kinds of Domicile

  • Domicile of Origin,

Every individual obtains a domicile of origin at birth by operation of law, which cannot be revoked. Even whether a person receives a new domicile by choice or by necessity, the domicile of origin is never totally lost; it only stays dormant in the background and awakens when gaps between obtaining and losing domicile appear.

The law of domicile evolved primarily through common law norms. In English law, domicile of origin was attributed based on a child’s status as legitimate or illegitimate in the following way:

  1. a legitimate child takes the father’s domicile at birth as its domicile of origin, and an illegitimate child takes the mother’s domicile at birth as its domicile of origin.
  • An illegitimate (or posthumous) kid inherits the mother’s residence.
  • Domicile of Choice

Every independent individual can obtain the Domicile of his choosing, provided he meets the two requirements for the Domicile. The Domicile of Choice is obtained by physically relocating to another nation accompanied by animus manendi, which implies a state of mind in which the individual has developed a firm intention to make his place of settlement or residence his permanent home.

How is Domicile different from citizenship?

Domicile is distinct from citizenship, as confirmed in the decision of Abdur Rahaman v. State (AIR 1964 Pat 384). [2]The individual may have nationality or citizenship as well as a distinct domicile, or he may have a domicile but no nationality. Simply said, Domicile denotes a relationship with the area rather than membership in a group, which is at the heart of the concept of citizenship or nationality.


The term nationality refers to an individual’s political and legal position as a citizen of a certain state. Domicile, on the other hand, is a nationality trait that defines a person’s place of residency. It is quite conceivable for a person to be a national of one state while residing in another. These complications minimise over half of international difficulties by offering the right forum to deal with the issue’s distinctive character.


[1] http://www.uniset.ca/other/cs3/11ER50.html

[2] Sayed Abdur Rahaman vs State Of West Bengal

Aishwarya Says:

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