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Dereliction is the abandonment of a thing, person, or obligation. Dereliction of personal property is the abandonment of such property, making the property derelict and open to potential salvors. 

Dereliction of duty is a person’s purposeful or accidental failure to perform an obligation without a valid excuse, especially an obligation attached to their job. In the 1991 U.S. Court of Military Appeals case, U.S. v. Powell, the Court stated that a person is guilty of the offense of dereliction of duty when he or she willingly or negligently fails to perform his or her duties or by performing such duties in a culpably inefficient manner. The Court noted that work done in a culpably inefficient manner is when there is no reasonable or just excuse for the inefficiency.

[Last updated in June of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]