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Related to malfeasance: misfeasance


The commission of an act that is unequivocally illegal or completely wrongful.

Malfeasance is a comprehensive term used in both civil and Criminal Law to describe any act that is wrongful. It is not a distinct crime or tort, but may be used generally to describe any act that is criminal or that is wrongful and gives rise to, or somehow contributes to, the injury of another person.

Malfeasance is an affirmative act that is illegal or wrongful. In tort law it is distinct from misfeasance, which is an act that is not illegal but is improperly performed. It is also distinct from Nonfeasance, which is a failure to act that results in injury.

The distinctions between malfeasance, misfeasance, and nonfeasance have little effect on tort law. Whether a claim of injury is for one or the other, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed a duty of care, that the duty was breached in some way, and that the breach caused injury to the plaintiff. One exception is that under the law of Strict Liability, the plaintiff need not show the absence of due care. The law of strict liability usually is applied to Product Liability cases, where a manufacturer can be held liable for harm done by a product that was harmful when it was placed on the market. In such cases the plaintiff need not show any actual malfeasance on the part of the manufacturer. A mistake is enough to create liability because the law implies that for the sake of public safety, a manufacturer warrants a product's safety when it offers the product for sale.


n. intentionally doing something either legally or morally wrong which one had no right to do. It always involves dishonesty, illegality, or knowingly exceeding authority for improper reasons. Malfeasance is distinguished from "misfeasance," which is committing a wrong or error by mistake, negligence or inadvertence, but not by intentional wrongdoing. Example: a city manager putting his indigent cousin on the city payroll at a wage the manager knows is above that allowed and/or letting him file false time cards is malfeasance; putting his able cousin on the payroll which, unknown to him, is a violation of an anti-nepotism statute is misfeasance. This distinction can apply to corporate officers, public officials, trustees, and others cloaked with responsibility. (See: misfeasance)


noun bad conduct, corruption, deviation from rectitude, ill conduct, illegal action, infringement, injurious action, misbehavior, misdeed, misdoing, misgovernment, mismanagement, overstepping, peccadillo, peccancy, transgression, unjust performmnce, unlawful action, wrongful action, wrongful conduct
Associated concepts: malfeasance in office, malfeasance of a public officer, misconduct, misfeasance, nonfeasance
See also: abuse, blame, conversion, crime, culpability, delict, delinquency, disloyalty, disservice, guilt, knavery, maladministration, misappropriation, misconduct, misdeed, misdemeanor, misprision, misrule, offense, tort, wrong


the doing of a wrongful or illegal act, especially by a public official.

MALFEASANCE, contracts, torts. The unjust performance of some act which the party had no right, or which he had contracted not to do. It differs from misfeasance, (q.v.) and nonfeasance. (q.v.) Vide 1 Chit. Pr. 9; 1 Chit. Pl. 134.

References in periodicals archive ?
Bulgaria's Defense Minister in 2008-2009 faced charges of malfeasance in office resulting in damages of BGN 19 M to the state budget.
State has a set of internal controls to prevent visa malfeasance and has taken actions to improve them; however, these internal controls are not being fully and consistently implemented by the posts we visited.
For perspective on how that could pose a danger, imagine that auditing malfeasance has been alleged against you and a jury has been selected to hear the case.
A critical question she posed is: "What was the culture and ethical behavior like at companies like Enron, WorldCom, HealthSouth and Adelphia that allowed the malfeasance or misguided judgments to happen?
The taxpayer needs to have purchased the investment from the person or agent of the seller, or entity who made the misrepresentations or committed the malfeasance.
The Times went on to report that on the same day of Magistrate Hart's decision, a Utah appeals court judge chastised another lawyer for "textual malfeasance.
According to experts, organizations' use of DRM may affect how whistleblowers inform outsiders of corporate malfeasance.
Indeed, like the late Mark Lombardi, whose post-Conceptual depictions of political and financial malfeasance bear a distinct relation to this very body of work, Fahlstrom is an artist one wishes were here to comment now: Guernica, rejected by the UN in February 2003 as a too-embarrassing backdrop for a press conference on Iraq, has again become symbolic in the struggle against a crypto-imperialist US-led war, while the problem of creating effective agitprop that maintains aesthetic independence is, of course, perennial.
The fallout from the revelations of corporate malfeasance has severely shaken investor confidence.
Taking shots at the government for some malfeasance or misfeasance is, in editor's parlance, "shooting fish in a barrel.
Floods have clear beginnings and identifiable causes, and can often be blamed on official malfeasance.
The concept of malfeasance by computer means that computer-related behavior stretches the bounds of legality and may be viewed as only technically wrong, despite its widespread, potentially negative impact.