Obligation Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Obligation?

n.Legal responsibility to make payment of money owed to someone and supported by legal documents or performance of a certain duty or task because of a promise or a contract bound by law.

History and Meaning of Obligation

Obligation is a legal concept that refers to a duty or responsibility to fulfill certain actions, typically as a result of a contract or agreement. In legal terms, an obligation is a requirement to perform, refrain from performing, or pay for a certain action or service. Obligations can be either explicit or implicit and can exist between individuals, businesses, or government entities.

The concept of obligation can be traced back to ancient Roman law, where it was known as "obligatio." In Roman law, obligations were primarily contractual and were created through a binding agreement between two parties. Over time, the concept of obligation has been expanded to encompass a wide range of legal relationships and responsibilities.

Examples of Obligation

  1. A borrower has an obligation to repay a loan according to the terms of the loan agreement.
  2. A landlord has an obligation to maintain a rental property in a safe and habitable condition.
  3. A company has an obligation to pay its employees a fair wage for their work.
  4. A parent has an obligation to provide financial support for their minor child.
  5. A contractor has an obligation to complete a construction project according to the specifications outlined in the contract.

Legal Terms Similar to Obligation

  1. Duty: a legal or moral obligation to act in a certain way.
  2. Contract: a legally binding agreement between two or more parties that creates obligations to perform certain actions.
  3. Liability: legal responsibility for the consequences of one's actions.
  4. Covenant: a binding agreement between two or more parties that creates obligations to perform certain actions.
  5. Undertaking: a formal pledge or commitment to undertake a certain action or task.