Legal Definition and Related Resources of Nonfeasance

Meaning of Nonfeasance

The omission of an act which a person ought to do. Johannsen v Stewart, 152 N. W.2d 202, 260 Iowa 1140. Nonfeasance as denoting an omission leading to liability is largely limited to those circumstances in which some special relationship can be established between parties . See Mikialian v City of Los Angeles, 144 Cal.Rptr. 794, 79 C.A.3d 150. The term is generally used in the context of a public body such as a municipal corporation or a public officer failing or refusing to do a ministerial act which the law enjoins such body or official to do. See Larson v Marsh, 144 Neb. 644, 14 N. W.2d 189.

Nonfeasance Alternative Definition

The neglect or failure of a person to do some act which he ought to do. The term is not generally used to denote a breach of contract, but rather the failure to perform a duty towards the public whereby some individual sustains special damage, as where a sheriff fails to execute a writ. 3 Bl. Comm. 165; Broom, Com. Law, 655. When a legislative act requires a person to do a thing, its nonfeasance will subject the party to punishment; as, if a statute require the supervisors of the highways to repair such highways, the neglect to repair them may be punished. See 1 Russ. Crimes, 48. See also, Mandate.

Synonyms of Nonfeasance


  • delinquency
  • dereliction
  • disregard
  • disregard of duty
  • failure
  • inattention
  • indifference
  • laxity
  • misprision
  • neglect of duty
  • negligence
  • nonfulfillment
  • nonperformance
  • omission

Related Entries of Nonfeasance in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Nonfeasance in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Nonfeasance in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Nonfeasance in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

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Related Legal Terms

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This definition of Nonfeasance is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

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