Appropriation (law)
In law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

 and government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

, appropriation (from Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 appropriare, "to make one's own", later "to set aside") is the act of setting apart something for its application to a particular usage, to the exclusion of all other uses.

It typically refers to the legislative designation of money
Money is any object or record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in a given country or socio-economic context. The main functions of money are distinguished as: a medium of exchange; a unit of account; a store of value; and, occasionally in the past,...

 for particular uses, in the context of a budget
A budget is a financial plan and a list of all planned expenses and revenues. It is a plan for saving, borrowing and spending. A budget is an important concept in microeconomics, which uses a budget line to illustrate the trade-offs between two or more goods...

 or spending bill.

Ecclesiastical law

In ecclesiastical law, appropriation is the perpetual annexation of an ecclesiastical benefice to the use of some spiritual corporation, either aggregate or sole. In the Middle Ages in England the custom grew up of the monasteries reserving to their own use the greater part of the tithes of their appropriated benefices, leaving only a small portion to their vicars in the parishes. On the dissolution of the monasteries these "great tithes" were often granted, with the monastic lands, to laymen, whose successors, known as "lay impropriators" or "lay rectors," still hold them, the system being known as impropriation.

Law of debtor and creditor

In the law of debtor and creditor, appropriation of payments is the application of a particular payment for the purpose of paying a particular debt. When a creditor has two debts due to him from the same debtor on distinct accounts, the general law as to the appropriation of payments made by the debtor is that the debtor is entitled to apply the payments to such account as he thinks fit; solvitur in modum solventis. In default of appropriation by the debtor the creditor is entitled to determine the application of the sums paid, and may appropriate them even to the discharge of debts barred by the Statute of Limitations. In default of appropriation by either debtor or creditor, the law implies an appropriation of the earlier payments to the earlier debts.


In constitutional law, appropriation is the assignment of money for a special purpose.

In the United Kingdom an appropriation act appropriating various sums to government departments and quangos
Quango or qango is an acronym used notably in the United Kingdom, Ireland and elsewhere to label an organisation to which government has devolved power...

, as set out by the government.

The United States Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

 (art. I. § 9) says: "No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law." The most important statutes of this sort are the 13 annual appropriation bills, by which definite sums are reserved for specified objects. Bills for appropriating money must originate in the House of Representatives, but may be amended in the Senate.

Criminal Law

In England and Wales, the Theft Act 1968 s 3(1) defines appropriation as "Any assumption by a person of the rights of an owner"

Contract authority

A contract authority is a form of budget authority that permits obligations to be made in advance of appropriations.
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