Abandonment : Definition

The act of giving up a legal right, particularly a right of ownership of property. Property that has been abandoned is res nullius (a thing belonging to no one), and a person taking possession of it therefore acquires a lawful title. An item is regarded as abandoned when it can be established that the original owner has discarded it and is indifferent as to what becomes of it: such an item cannot be the subject of a criminal damage or theft charge. However, property placed by its owner in a dustbin is not abandoned, having been placed there for the purpose of being collected as refuse.

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