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The omission to perform a required duty or the failure to act when a duty to act existed. Nonfeasance can more loosely be defined as “not doing something which you ought to do.” The term “nonfeasance” commonly appears in the areas of contract and tort law. For example, in contract law, failure to perform the obligations of a contract altogether constitutes “nonfeasance” and could give rise to a suit for breach of contract. In the context of negligence, nonfeasance may be actionable where a landowner failed to warn invitees of concealed and dangerous conditions on their property and an invitee was injured. In contrast, misfeasance and malfeasance refer to acts which are improperly performed or wrongful.

[Last updated in June of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]