Legal Definition and Related Resources of Conversion

Meaning of Conversion

A wrongful interference with goods , as by taking, using or destroying them, inconsistent with the owner ‘s right of possession . Catania v garage De. Le. Paix Inc., (Tex. Civ.App.) 542 S. W.2d 239. The Repudiation by the defendant of the owner’s right, or some exercise of dominion inconsistent with it. Sometimes known as trover . An act inconsistent with the general right of dominion which the owner of a chattel has in same, who is entitled to the use of same at all times and in all places. The aggrieved party can sue to recover the goods or sue to recover damages .

Conversion Alternative Definition

(Lat. eon, with, together, vertere, to turn; conversio, a turning to, with, together). In Equity. The exchange of one species of property for another, which takes place under some circumstances in the consideration of the law, although no such change has actually taken place. Land is held to be converted into money, in equity, when the owner has contracted to sell; and if he die before making a conveyance, his executors will be entitled to the money, and not his heirs. 2 Vern. 52; 1 W. Bl. 129. Money may be held to be converted into land under various circumstances; as where, for example, a man dies before a conveyance is made to him of land which he has bought. 10 Pet. (U.S.) 563; Bouv. Inst. Index. At Law. An unauthorized assumption and exercise of the right of ownership over goods or personal chattels belonging to another, to the alteration of their condition, or the exclusion of the owner’s rights. 44 Me. 197; 36 N. H. 311. A constructive conversion takes place when a person does such acts in reference to the goods or personal chattels of another as amount, in view of the law, to appropriation of the property to himself. 1 Kelly (Ga.) 381. A direct conversion takes place when a person actually appropriates the property of another to his own beneficial use and enjoyment, or to that of a third person, or destroys it, or alters its nature. 27 Mich. 454.

Synonyms of Conversion

(Change), noun

  • alteration
  • interchange
  • metamorphosis
  • passage
  • reconstruction
  • shift
  • switch
  • transformation
  • transition
  • transmutation
  • Associated Concepts: conversion of a security

(Misappropriation), noun

  • appropriation
  • defraudation
  • deprivation
  • embezzlement
  • fraud
  • larceny
  • malfeasance
  • misapplication
  • misappropriation of funds
  • misemployment
  • misuse
  • peculation
  • theft
  • thievery
  • unauthorized assumption of property
  • unlawful appropriation
  • unlawful use of another’s property
  • wrongful assumption
  • wrongful exercise of dominion
  • Associated Concepts: action for conversion
  • attachment
  • constructive conversion
  • conversion by assertion of ownership
  • conversion of goods
  • conversion of property
  • conversion of stock
  • detinue
  • fraudulent conversion
  • innocent conversion
  • involuntary conversion
  • larceny by conversion
  • technical conversion
  • trover
  • wrongful conversion

Related Entries of Conversion in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Conversion in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Conversion in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Conversion in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Conversion in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

You might be also interested in these legal terms:

Mentioned in these terms

Commutation, Conversion, Equitable, Misapplication, Misappropriation, Trover, Trust For Sale.


You might be interested in these references tools:

Resource Description
Conversion in the Dictionary Conversion in our legal dictionaries
Browse the Legal Thesaurus Find synonyms and related words of Conversion
Legal Maxims Maxims are established principles that jurists use as interpretive tools, invoked more frequently in international law
Legal Answers (Q&A) A community-driven knowledge creation process, of enduring value to a broad audience
Related topics Conversion in the World Encyclopedia of Law


This definition of Conversion is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

Vocabularies (Semantic Web Information)


Resource Description
Topic Map A group of names, occurrences and associations
Topic Tree A topic display format, showing the hierarchy
Sitemap Index Sitemap Index, including Taxonomies The URI of Conversion (more about URIs)

Conversion in the Dictionary of Law consisting of Judicial Definitions and Explanations of Words, Phrases and Maxims

Changing into another state or condition.

Note: This legal definition of Conversion in the Dictionary of Law (English and American Jurisprudence) is from 1893.

Conversion in Law Enforcement

Main Entry: Law Enforcement in the Legal Dictionary. This section provides, in the context of Law Enforcement, a partial definition of conversion.


See Also

  • Law Enforcement Officer
  • Policeman
  • Law Enforcement Agency

Further Reading

English Legal System: Conversion

In the context of the English law, A Dictionary of Law provides the following legal concept of Conversion :

1. (in tort) The tort of wrongfully dealing with a person’s goods in a way that constitutes a denial of the owner’s rights or an assertion of rights inconsistent with the owner’s. Wrongfully taking possession of goods, disposing of them, destroying them, or refusing to give them back are acts of conversio Mere negligence in allowing goods to be lost or destroyed was not conversion at common law, but is a ground of liability under the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977. The claimant in conversion must prove that he had ownership, possession, or the right to immediate possession of the goods at the time of the defendant’s wrongful act (See also jus tertii). Subject to some exceptions, it is no defence that the defendant acted innocently.

2. (in equity) The changing (either actually or fictionally) of one kind of property into another. For example, if land is sold the interest of those entitled to the property changes from an interest in the land to an interest in the money that represents it. Before 1926 (and to a lesser extent thereafter) it was important to know whether a person entitled to property had interests in land or in the proceeds of its sale: to leave the determination of these rights to be decided by the precise moment of a sale could have led to uncertainty and injustice. The doctrine of conversion stated that if there was a duty to convert the property, equity would assume the property to have been converted forthwith: “equity looks on that as done which ought to have been done” (See maxims of equity). This doctrine was abolished with effect from 1 January 1997 by the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996.

Conversion Definition (in the Accounting Vocabulary)

The New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants offers the following definition of Conversion in a way that is easy for anybody to understand: Exchange of a convertible security such as a BOND into another security such as a fixed number of shares of the issuing CORPORATION’s COMMON STOCK.

Concept of Conversion in the context of Real Property

Alternatives definitions of Conversion: (1) A legal term referring to the “legal” changing from real to personal property (or vice versa), although there is no actual change in the property. (2) A taking of something for one’s own use which was originally in his possession only to hold for the owner. (3) The changing of an apartment to a condominium.

Concept of Conversion in the context of Real Property

Alternatives definitions of Conversion: (1) A legal term referring to the “legal” changing from real to personal property (or vice versa), although there is no actual change in the property. (2) A taking of something for one’s own use which was originally in his possession only to hold for the owner. (3) The changing of an apartment to a condominium.


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