Law Dictionary

rule in Shelley's case

often cap R rule in Shel·ley's case \-ˈshe-lēz-\
  1. :  a former common-law rule that converted a life estate of an ancestor into an estate in fee and destroyed the remainder to the heirs that was created in the same instrument as that creating the life estate — see also executory interest at interest 1

Origin and Etymology of rule in shelley's case

from Wolfe v. Shelley, a 1581 English case invoking the rule

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a rounded knoll or a ridge of ice

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