Domicile: Categories of domicile: The three categories of domicile
Domicile of origin
The common law ascribes a domicile of origin to every individual at birth. An individual’s domicile of origin can subsequently be altered only by adoption.
Domicile of dependence
Domicile of dependence is the domicile that the law ascribes to an individual because of that individual’s lack of legal capacity and legal dependence upon another person.
Dependent persons fall into three classes:
- Married women, prior to 1 January 1974
- Individuals who lack sufficient mental capacity
Domicile of choice
Any individual who has legal capacity can acquire a domicile of choice. Such a domicile is acquired by the combination of:
- physical presence in a legal territory as an actual inhabitant, and
- the intention to remain in that territory permanently or indefinitely.
A domicile of choice is lost by the loss of both these factors. As a change of intention alone is insufficient to bring an end to a domicile of choice, it can be necessary to examine not only an individual’s intentions at the time of an enquiry but also that person’s intentions over a longer period.
In order to have legal capacity an individual must have reached a specific age (usually either 16, 18 or 21 years old, depending upon the relevant system of municipal law), and possess the necessary mental capacity.