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Nonfeasance is a term used in finance and law to describe a situation where an individual or entity neglects to perform a duty or act that is legally or contractually required of them. This term is often used in insurance law, implying a failure to execute a responsibility that results in harm or damage to another party. It differs from malfeasance, which means performing a duty improperly, and misfeasance, which denotes improper performance of a lawful act.


The phonetics of the keyword “Nonfeasance” is: “ˌnɒnˈfiːzəns”

Key Takeaways

  1. Definition: Nonfeasance refers to the failure to act when there is a responsibility to do so. This inaction is considered nonfeasance when it results in harm or damage. Nonfeasance can be a legal basis for lawsuits, particularly in cases where there’s an existing contractual duty or some form of special relationship between parties.
  2. Example in Law: In law, nonfeasance is most commonly discussed in negligence cases. For example, if a property owner fails to repair a dangerous condition on their property and someone gets injured as a result, the owner might be legally responsible for nonfeasance.
  3. Necessity for Proving Nonfeasance: To prove nonfeasance in court, it is typically necessary to demonstrate that the party had an obligation to perform a certain act, they failed to perform said act, and this failure directly resulted in harm or damage. If these requirements are not met, it can be difficult to establish a case of nonfeasance.


Nonfeasance is a critical term in business and finance as it refers to the failure to perform an act that is either required by law or by duty. This term is often used in areas like contract law, corporate governance, or professional services, and it can lead to serious legal and financial consequences for individuals or entities involved. Nonfeasance can result in lawsuits, damage to a company’s reputation, and loss of trust from stakeholders and clients. Understanding and avoiding nonfeasance is therefore crucial in maintaining legal compliance, ethical standards, and overall robust business operations.


Nonfeasance plays a significant role in defining the obligations and responsibilities in both the financial and business sectors. Primarily, it points out to the neglect or failure to perform an act that one is obligated or has a duty to perform. Recognizing nonfeasance is essential because it helps identify whether an individual or entity has neglected its commitments, which could have potentially harmful ramifications. Essentially, the purpose of identifying nonfeasance is to maintain fairness and integrity in business transactions and relationships, thus ensuring mutual respect between the involved parties.The concept of nonfeasance is frequently used in contract law, risk management, and even insurance fields. It serves as a measure to prevent misconduct and omission of responsibilities and is often linked to legal actions and financial reparations. For example, an insurance company might be accused of nonfeasance if it fails to provide a promised service as per the policy agreement. The significance of nonfeasance lies in the fact that it helps uphold standards of professional conduct within the finance and business sectors, thereby fostering a more robust, reliable, and transparent market environment.


1. Insurance Company Nonfeasance: Suppose someone has an insurance policy that covers damage to their property. Wihtin the scope of this policy, a major storm destroys the policyholder’s house. If the insurance company refuses to assess the claim or neglects to make the payment, this is nonfeasance, as they are not fulfilling their contractual obligation to evaluate damages and provide payment.2. Financial Advisor Nonfeasance: If an individual hires a financial advisor to manage their investments, they expect them to act in their best interest. If this financial advisor fails to act when a necessary action is crucial for the benefit of the client’s investments, such as not selling or buying stocks when he/she should have, this is a case of nonfeasance.3. Contractual Nonfeasance: If a construction company enters into a contract to build a house before a certain date and then they fail to begin or complete the project, it’s an example of nonfeasance. They had a duty as per the agreement to build the house, and their failure to take any action breaches that contract.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is nonfeasance in finance and business terms?

Nonfeasance refers to a failure to perform an action that is required as part of a person’s job or duty. This could be the failure to fulfill a contractual agreement, the neglect of duties, or the failure to act when action is necessary.

Is nonfeasance the same as misfeasance?

No, they are not the same. While nonfeasance refers to the failure to perform a required action, misfeasance refers to the improper performance of a lawful act. This implies that the act is done, but it isn’t carried out in a way that fulfills the implied or expressed obligations.

Is nonfeasance illegal?

Whether nonfeasance is considered illegal mostly depends on the context. If nonfeasance involves the neglect of contractual obligations or duty, it can lead to legal consequences. However, it’s not considered illegal in every situation.

How does nonfeasance affect a business?

Nonfeasance can significantly impact a business. Neglect of duties or failing to fulfill contractual obligations can lead to lost opportunities, decreased productivity, or even legal consequences. It can undermine business relationships and harm the company’s reputation.

Can nonfeasance be avoided?

Yes, nonfeasance can be avoided by ensuring all contractual obligations and duties are met on time. This requires careful planning, organization, and dedication to fulfilling one’s responsibilities. A well-structured system of checks and balances can also help prevent nonfeasance.

What legal remedies are available for nonfeasance?

The legal remedies for nonfeasance could include damages, specific performance, or injunction. Damages refer to compensation for any loss incurred, while specific performance and injunction involve a court order forcing the party to fulfill their obligations or cease a particular action.

What is an example of nonfeasance?

An example of nonfeasance could be a builder contracted to construct a building, but never starts the project. The builder’s complete inaction is considered nonfeasance as they failed to perform their contractual obligation.

Related Finance Terms

  • Malfeasance
  • Misfeasance
  • Breach of Duty
  • Contract Law
  • Tort Law

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