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Posted by Lewis on June 06, 2006

In Reply to: Ninety percent of ownership posted by Gary on June 05, 2006

: : : What is that phrase that goes something like, "Ninety percent of ownership is posession", os something like that?

: : : Jenny

: : "Possession is nine tenths of the law" is the way it's usually rendered. I remembered "Possession is nine points of the law," but that's an archaic version (I have grown so old) and Google hits prefer the former, 25000 to 700. It means that at law, if you have possession of the property in question, you have a big advantage.
: : (I was surprised not to find this in our archives... or did I miss something?)

: Interesting that "possession is..." is used both in the USA and the UK. It seems to date back to at least 1650. It was eleven points then - that's decimalization for you.

: There's also the slogan "84% of the wealth is held by 7% of the people".

the original saying was that "property is nine points of the law" - although over the years the phrase "nine-tenths of the law" has become more commonplace.

the original saying was by Lord Mansfield in 1774

the meaning is that physical possession is the best leverage and that it is more difficult to try to recover something than hold on to it. that is because a case needs to be proved 51/49 % in the claimants favour so there is a slight mathematical, but often substantial practical burden in recovering property.