This is the country in which a person has or is deemed by law to have a permanent home. It is the country of permanent residence.
The law relating to domicile in Kenya is contained in the Law of Domicile Act7
This statute codifies the common law on domicile with a few modifications.
TYPES OF DOMICILE
The law of Domicile law recognizes three types of domicile namely:
a. Domicile of origin
b. Domicile of dependence
c. Domicile of chance
1. DOMICILE OF ORIGIN
This is the domicile a person acquires at birth. Sections 3-6 of the Law of Domicile Act sets out the rules / principles governing acquisition of domicile of origin:
a. An infant born legitimate acquires the domicile of the father.
b. An infant born after the father’s death acquires the domicile of the father as at the date of death.
c. An infant found without parents (foundling infant) is deemed to acquire the domicile of the country in which he is found.
d. An infant legitimated by the marriage of its parents acquires the domicile of the father as at the date of legitimating.
e. An adopted infant acquires the domicile of the adopter.
f. An infant adopted by spouses acquires the domicile of the husband.
g. Domicile of origin is never lost but may be suspended when a person acquires a domicile of choice.
2. DOMICILE OF DEPENDENCE
This is the domicile of a person who is legally dependant on another.
This domicile changes with that of the other person e.g. the domicile of an adopted infant depends on that of the adopter, while that of a legitimate infant depends on that of the father. Domicile of an infant married woman depends on that of her husband.
3. DOMICILE OF CHOICE
This is the domicile a person acquires by choosing which country to make his permanent home.
Every person of sound mind who has attained the age of majority (18 years) has capacity to acquire an independent domicile of choice.
For a person to acquire a domicile of choice, he must:
Take up actual residence in the country of choice.
Have the intention of making the country his permanent home.
Once a domicile of choice is acquired, the domicile of origin is suspended but is reverted to when the domicile of choice is lost.
Under the Law of Domicile Act, upon marriage, a woman acquires her husband’s domicile.
Under Section 10 (1) of the Act, no person may have more than one domicile at a time and no person shall be deemed to be without domicile.
IMPORTANCE OF DOMICILE
1. It is important to ascertain the domicile of a person as it determines which country’s laws govern the validity of a person’s will, marriage or divorce.
2. It determines the personal law of a person.