What is DUTY?
In its use in Jurisprudence, this word is the correlative of right. Thus,wherever there exists a right in any person, there also rests a corresponding duty uponsome other person or upon all persons generally. But it is also used, in a wider sense,to designate that class of moral obligations which lie outside the jural sphere; such,namely, as rest upon an imperative ethical basis, but have not been recognized by thelaw as within its proper province for purposes of enforcement or redress. Thus, gratitudetowards a benefactor is a duty, but its refusal will not ground an action. In thismeaning “duty” is the equivalent of “moral obligation,” as distinguished from a “legalobligation.” See Kentucky v. Denni- son, 24 How. 107, 16 L. Ed. 717; Harrison y. Bush,5 El. & Bl. 349.As a technical term of the law. “duty” signifies a thing due; that which is due from aperson; that which a person owes to another. An obligation to do a thing. A word ofmore extensive signification than “debt,” although both are expressed by the sameLatin word “debitum.” Beach v. Boynton, 20 Vt 725, 733.But In practice it is commonly reserved as the designation of those obligations ofperformance, care, or observance which rest upon a person In an official or fiduciarycapacity ; as the duty of an executor, trustee, manager, etc.It also denotes a tax or impost due to the government upon the Importation orexportation of goods.
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