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To liberate or free; to terminate or extinguish. A discharge is the act or instrument by which a contract or agreement is ended. A mortgage is discharged if it has been carried out to the full extent originally contemplated or terminated prior to total execution.

Discharge also means to release, as from legal confinement in prison or the military service, or from some legal obligation such as jury duty, or the payment of debts by a person who is bankrupt. The document that indicates that an individual has been legally released from the military service is called a discharge.

The performance of a duty discharges it. An attorney may speak of discharging a legal obligation.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


v. 1) to perform one's duties. 2) to dismiss someone from a job. 3) to pay one's debts or obligations. 4) in bankruptcy, to issue an order of the court that all debts (with certain statutory exceptions) are forgiven and need not be paid.

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.


1 in any obligation, the termination of that obligation without liability on either party. In the Scots law of contract, discharge maybe by performance or novation, compensation, confusion, acceptance payment or delegation.
2 in the law of NEGOTIABLE INSTRUMENTS a bill of exchange is discharged when all rights of action thereon are extinguished. It then ceases to be negotiable, and if it subsequently comes into the hands of a holder in due course he acquires no right of action on the instrument. A bill is discharged by payment in due course.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

DISCHARGE, practice. The act by which a person in confinement, under some legal process, or held on an accusation of some crime or misdemeanor, is set at liberty; the writing containing the order for his being so set at liberty, is also called a discharge.
     2. The discharge of a defendant, in prison under a ca. sa., when made by the plaintiff, has the operation of satisfying the debt, the plaintiff having no other remedy. 4 T. R. 526. But when the discharge is in consequence of the insolvent laws, or the defendant dies in prison, the debt is not satisfied. In the first place the plaintiff has a remedy against the property of the defendant, acquired after his discharge, and, in the last case, against the executors or administrators of the debtor. Bac. Ab. Execution, D; Bingh. on Execution, 266.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
In the lower band average costs per patient fell to 5583 [pounds sterling] in the early supported discharge group and 5005 [pounds sterling] in the conventional care group, while application of the upper band changed costs to 7442 [pounds sterling] and 8568 [pounds sterling] respectively.
This reduced costs in the early supported discharge group by 800 [pounds sterling] to 6355 [pounds sterling] per patient.
In addition, there appears a slight cost advantage of early supported discharge care for more dependent patients (that is, Barthel scores of 12 or below).
7-day Barthel score of 13-20 ESD 26 17 3598 CHC 23 17 1198 0.001 ESD, early supported discharge; CHC, conventional hospital care.
If early supported discharge leads to differences in admission to residential or nursing homes, or greater problems for carers in terms of psychological distress or lost work opportunities in the longer term, then costs are likely to have been underestimated.
In particular, one important factor led to the results being biased against the early supported discharge group.
Viewed from the perspective of the health service, the attractiveness of an early supported discharge policy crucially depends on the assumptions made about the value of the freed bed days.
For example, amongst less physically dependent patients, costs were significantly higher for patients who received early supported discharge with no differences in outcomes, even when unweighted costs were applied.

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