Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter I. District of Columbia Establishment.


§ 1–101. Territorial area.

The District of Columbia is that portion of the territory of the United States ceded by the State of Maryland for the permanent seat of government of the United States, including the river Potomac in its course through the District, and the islands therein.


(R.S., D.C., § 1; June 11, 1878, 20 Stat. 102, ch. 180, § 1.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-101.

1973 Ed., § 1-101.

Cross References

“District” defined, see § 2-2601.

Metropolitan Police District, creation, see § 5-101.01.

National capital service area, see § 1-207.39.

Editor's Notes

Organic Act of 1878: See Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1.

Boundary line between District of Columbia and Commonwealth of Virginia established: See Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1.


§ 1–102. District created body corporate for municipal purposes.

The District is created a government by the name of the “District of Columbia,” by which name it is constituted a body corporate for municipal purposes, and may contract and be contracted with, sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded, have a seal, and exercise all other powers of a municipal corporation not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States and the provisions of this Code.


(R.S., D.C., § 2; June 11, 1878, 20 Stat. 102, ch. 180, § 1.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-102.

1973 Ed., § 1-102.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-207.17 and § 1-603.01.

Cross References

“District” defined, see §§ 1-603.01 and 3-3601.

Mayor, powers and duties, see § 1-204.22.

Editor's Notes

Organic Act of 1878: See Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 1–103. Officers of corporation.

The Mayor of the District of Columbia and the members of the Council of the District of Columbia shall be deemed and taken as officers of such corporation.


(June 11, 1878, 20 Stat. 102, ch. 180, § 1; 1967 Reorg. Plan No. 3, § 405, 81 Stat. 978.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-103.

1973 Ed., § 1-103.

Editor's Notes

Organic Act of 1878: See Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 405 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to the District of Columbia Council, subject to the right of the Commissioner as provided in § 406 of the Plan. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 1–104. District as successor corporation.

The District of Columbia is the successor of the corporations of Washington and Georgetown, and all the property of said corporations, and of the County of Washington, is vested in the District of Columbia.


(R.S., D.C., § 96.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-104.

1973 Ed., § 1-104.


§ 1–105. Former corporation continued for certain purposes.

The corporation of the District of Columbia is continued for all the purposes of this section and other acts, for the collection of taxes, for suing and being sued, for causes arising prior to June 20, 1874, and for acquiring and holding real estate for school and municipal purposes.


(Mar. 3, 1877, 19 Stat. 402, ch. 117, § 15.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-105.

1973 Ed., § 1-105.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 38-401.

Cross References

Control of school buildings, see § 38-401.


§ 1–106. Records of former corporations and of levy court made property of District of Columbia.

All records, books, files, maps, plats, surveys, drawings, writings, and other papers, of the late corporations of Washington and Georgetown, or of the levy court of the District of Columbia, or made by persons in the employment or service of either of them, or of the District of Columbia, in the course of such employment or service, or which shall be so made after February 4, 1878, are, and shall be, the property of the District of Columbia.


(Feb. 4, 1878, 20 Stat. 23, ch. 12, § 3.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-106.

1973 Ed., § 1-106.


§ 1–107. “Limits of City of Washington” defined; Georgetown abolished; general laws of Washington extended to former Georgetown.

That portion of the District included within the limits of the City of Washington, as the same existed on the 21st day of February, 1871, and all that part of the District of Columbia embraced within the bounds and constituting on February 11, 1895, the City of Georgetown (as referred to in the Acts of Congress approved February 21, 1871, 16 Stat. 419, ch. 62, and June 20, 1874, 18 Stat. 116, ch. 337) shall be known as and shall constitute the City of Washington, the federal capital; and all general laws, ordinances, and regulations of the City of Washington are extended and made applicable to that part of the District of Columbia formerly known as the City of Georgetown. The title and existence of said Georgetown as a separate and independent city by law is abolished. Nothing in this section shall operate to affect or repeal existing law making Georgetown a port of entry, except as to its name.


(R.S., D.C., § 94; Feb. 11, 1895, 28 Stat. 650, ch. 79.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-107.

1973 Ed., § 1-107.


§ 1–108. Name of Uniontown changed to Anacostia.

That portion of the District of Columbia prior to April 22, 1886, known and designated as Uniontown, shall be known and designated as Anacostia.


(Apr. 22, 1886, 24 Stat. 14, ch. 58.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-108.

1973 Ed., § 1-108.


§ 1–109. Liability.

(a) District of Columbia. — The District of Columbia shall defend any civil action or proceeding pending on August 5, 1997 in any court or other official municipal, state, or federal forum against the District of Columbia or its officers, employees, or agents, and shall assume any liability resulting from such an action or proceeding.

(b) State Justice Institute. — The State Justice Institute shall not be liable for damages or equitable relief on the basis of the activities or operations of any federal or District of Columbia agency which receives funds through the State Justice Institute pursuant to this title.

(c) United States. — The United States, its officers, employees, and agents, and its agencies shall not:

(1) Be responsible for the payment of any judgments, liabilities or costs resulting from any action or proceeding against the District of Columbia or its agencies, officers, employees, or agents;

(2) Be subject to liability in any case on the basis of the activities of the District of Columbia or its agencies, officers, employees, or agents; or

(3) Be subject to liability in any case under section 1979 of the Revised Statutes (42 U.S.C. § 1983).

(d) Limitations. — Nothing in this section shall be construed as a waiver of sovereign immunity, or as limiting any other defense or immunity that would otherwise be available to the United States, the District of Columbia, their agencies, officers, employees, or agents.


(Aug. 5, 1997, 111 Stat. 786, Pub. L. 105-33, § 11723.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-109.

References in Text

“This title”, referred to in subsection (b) of this section, is Title XI of Public Law 105-33.

Effective Dates

Section 11721 of Title XI of Pub. L. 105-33, 111 Stat. 786, the National Capital Revitalization and Self-Government Improvement Act of 1997, provided that except as otherwise provided in this title, the provisions of this title shall take effect on the later of October 1, 1997, or the day the District of Columbia Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority certifies that the financial plan and budget for the District government for fiscal year 1998 meet the requirements of section 201(c)(1) of the District of Columbia Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Act of 1995, as amended by this title.