Non-Feasance Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Non-Feasance?

n.Failure or refusal to perform a task that ought to be performed.It is different from “misfeasance” meaning improper performane or “malfeasance” meaning illegal or misconduct of performance.

History and Meaning of Non-Feasance

The term "Non-Feasance" originates from the French word "nefaire," which translates to "not to do." In legal terms, non-feasance refers to a failure to perform a duty or obligation that results in harm or damage to an individual or group. Non-feasance is different from misfeasance, which refers to a mistake made while performing a duty, and malfeasance, which refers to wrongful or illegal actions while performing a duty. Non-feasance often comes up in cases involving negligence or breach of contract.

Examples of Non-Feasance

  1. A doctor who fails to inform a patient of possible consequences of a medical procedure could be held liable for non-feasance if the patient suffers harm as a result.
  2. A police officer who fails to respond to a reported crime could be charged with non-feasance if it is found that they had a duty to respond and their failure to act resulted in harm or damage.
  3. An employer who fails to provide safety equipment to employees could be held liable for non-feasance if a workplace accident occurs, and the harm caused could have been prevented by the safety equipment.

Legal Terms Similar to Non-Feasance

  1. Malfeasance: The doing of an unlawful or wrongful act.
  2. Misfeasance: A wrongful act or improper performance, typically by a public official.
  3. Negligence: Failure to take proper care in doing something.
  4. Breach of contract: Violation of a contractual obligation.