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Implied Dedication


Term that describes the gifting of land by a private landowner to the government with the intent of requiring the government to use the land for a specified purpose. The specified purpose is at the discretion of the gifting party. An implied dedication does not have to be in writing. Simply allowing the government to use the land for a determined period of time, typically five years, is enough to establish the implied dedication.


In the past public use of property had the ability to forfeit a private property owners ownership of their land. An implied dedication is when private land ownership converts turn into a permanent dedication granted exclusively for the public. The decision reached in the famous Scher cases reduced the possibility of private property being converted into a public dedication.

Previous case law made it easier for private land to be overtaken by the government under the guise of enriching the public. This previous way of thinking was constantly challenged in the courts, however not until the Scher decision did the public have an effective way of fighting the government’s overreach into claiming private land for the public. New case law helped private property owners to protect themselves from these claims.

Background of Case Law Relating to Implied Dedication

Prior to the revolutionary Scher v. Government case, private land ownership claims were being challenged by the government. Many of these claims by the government were on the basis of benefiting the public good. While some of the land confiscations provided a public benefit, the basis of the case was that the government didn’t have the right to decide what type of land use was the best. This decision was supported by most landowner’s associations and businesses.

Many proponents of this decision believe this was a monumental decision for landowners as it stopped the ascent of the government’s ability to make decisions in which they deem to be beneficial rather than to promote lan

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