Notes on Misfeasance

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Introduction 

Misfeasance is the legal term for an act that is not illegal but is carried out in a way that causes harm to another person. Other people may be harmed unintentionally as a result of your actions. While these actions are frequent errors, they can have legal ramifications. Because there is no violation of a law or statute, the legal term misfeasance is used in civil cases. Tort law applies to these types of cases. People commit torts regularly, both intentionally and unintentionally, and many of them are dismissed, excused, ignored, or otherwise allowed to happen without recourse to the courts. A tort is an act that causes harm to another person due to negligence or misbehaviour. When someone fails to do their job and causes harm to another person, the term negligence is used. Negligence is defined as a lack of ordinary care, which can include doing something that should not be done or failing to do something that should be done. Misfeasance, on the other hand, occurs when a person does his or her job but causes harm to another person due to carelessness or error. The key component of this definition is intention. A person who engages in misbehaviour, like the personal trainer, does not intend to cause harm to another person. The defendant is the person who is to blame, and the plaintiff is the person who has been injured. In tort law, a defendant must be in a position where he or she owes the plaintiff a duty of care to be legally liable for misfeasance. A civil defendant is liable for misfeasance if the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, the defendant breached that duty of care by performing a legal act improperly, and the improper performance caused the plaintiff harm.

Definition of Misfeasance 

The word feasance or finance is derived from the French word feasance. The French prefixed it with ‘mes’ and called it misfeasance. It was defined by the French as the act of committing wrongdoing. This act was finally adopted by the United States. They simply called it misfeasance and kept the same meaning. During civil litigation or court, the term “misconduct” is used. Misfeasance is defined as “the wrongful and injurious performance of an act that could otherwise be done lawfully.” It is simply defined as any legal action that is carried out incorrectly. It’s important to distinguish between misfeasance and malfeasance. Malfeasance occurs when a person intentionally causes harm to another person by engaging in illegal behaviour. The person who inadvertently harms you must be under contract to have a duty of care towards you. If you were to ask a stranger on the street for advice on how to do a new workout routine and you were injured, the stranger would not be held liable. It would be a different story if you met with the same person in a gym and hired that person as your trainer.

Misfeasance in public office 

International torts include misfeasance in public office. It is the only tort recognised by the common law that operates solely under the law of the state. It’s been described as a “very strange tort.” Misfeasance in public office refers to the abuse of public power. The imposition of inappropriate liability on public officials may deter officials from exercising powers conferred on them for the public good. However, a too narrow definition of liability may leave people who have been harmed by abuse of power uncompensated.

Examples of Misfeasance 

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→ The drenched bathroom floor – By focusing on the wetness of the floor, one court could label a resulting injury as the result of misconduct. The act of washing the floor was legal, but leaving the floor wet was not.

→ Unaware that hiring family members is illegal, a public official hires his sister. A lawyer misses a deadline and files important legal documents after it has passed the actual date. → On a client’s tax return, an accountant makes an unintentional error.

→ A business executive willfully disregards company policy and attempts to save time and resources by taking a shortcut.

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→ The officer drove by, saw the altercation, but instead of responding himself, he called another officer on patrol, who was 10 minutes away, to respond to the scene, which would be a misdeed.

→ A detective who scribbles condensed versions of case files – He is still providing case files, which are his responsibility; however, in more complex cases, he misses important details that could have changed the outcome. The detective simply believed he had discovered a more efficient way of writing up case files, not realising that his actions could be detrimental in court.


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