Use, as a term in real property of common law countries, amounts to a recognition of the duty of a person, to whom property has been conveyed for certain purposes, to carry out those purposes.
Uses were equitable or beneficial interests in land. In early law a man could not dispose of his estate by will nor could religious houses acquire it. As a method of evading the common law, the practice arose of making feoffments to the use of, or upon trust for, persons other than those to whom the seisin or legal possession was delivered, to which the equitable jurisdiction of the chancellor gave effect. To remedy the abuses which it was said were occasioned by this evasion of the law the Statute of Uses of 1536 was passed. However it failed to accomplish its purpose. Out of this failure of the Statute of Uses arose the modern law of trusts (see that article for further details).
Development of the use
One reason for the creation of uses was a desire to avoid the strictness of the rules of the common law, which considered seisin to be all-important and therefore refused to allow a legal interest to be created to spring up in the future. Although the common law recognised a use in chattels from an early period, it was clear by the end of the fourteenth century that land law had no room for this notion. Uses, nonetheless, satisfied contemporary needs in fifteenth century England. Its first application in relation to land was to protect the ownership of the land by the Franciscan Monks, who were pledged to vows of poverty and unable to own land. This enabled the feoffee to uses for the benefit of a cestui que use. The common law did not recognise the cestui que use but affirmed the right of ownership by feoffee to use.
The term "use" translates into "Trust" and this was the legal beginning of Trusts and the use of trusts to defeat feudal, death and tax dues.