Lapse Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Lapse, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Lapse?

(v) Lapse is the process by which an application, action, occurrence of an event, right etc become impossible, ineffective or otherwise inoperative. For example an appointment order lapse on the death of the appointee.

History and Meaning of Lapse

Lapse is a legal term that is used to describe a situation where something becomes ineffective or inoperative. The term has its roots in English law and was originally used to describe the failure to make a valid will. In more recent times, however, the term has been used in a wider legal context to describe the loss of a right or privilege due to inaction or the passage of time.

In general, a lapse occurs when a legal right or privilege is not exercised or is not exercised correctly within a specific period of time. For example, if a person fails to renew a patent, the patent will lapse, and they will lose their rights to the invention.

Examples of Lapse

  1. If a person fails to pay their rent for three months straight, their lease may lapse, and they may be evicted from the property.
  2. If a statute of limitations period expires without a lawsuit being filed, the plaintiff's claim will lapse, and the defendant will no longer be liable for the issue at hand.
  3. If a gift is made to a person who has passed away or if a beneficiary dies before the testator, the gift or inheritance may lapse, and the property may go to someone else.

Legal Terms Similar to Lapse

  1. Abandonment: Abandonment refers to a situation where a person intentionally gives up or relinquishes their rights to something.
  2. Failure of Impression: This term refers to the failure of an issue to produce an intended or desired effect.
  3. Laches: Laches is a legal term used to describe situations where a party delays the enforcement of their legal rights, which results in prejudice to the other party.