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 upon some 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 the law as within its proper province for purposes of enforcement or redress. Thus, gratitude towards a benefactor is a duty, but its refusal will not ground an action. In this meaning “duty” is the equivalent of “moral obligation,” as distinguished from a “legal obligation.” See Kentucky v. Dennison, 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 a person; that which a person owes to another. An obligation to do a thing. A word of more extensive signification than “debt,” although both are expressed by the same Latin word “debitum.” Beach v. Boynton, 20 Vt 725, 733.But In practice it is commonly reserved as the designation of those obligations of performance, care, or observance which rest upon a person In an official or fiduciary capacity ; 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.

More On This Topic

Link to This Definition

Did you find this definition of DUTY helpful? You can share it by copying the code below and adding it to your blog or web page.
Written and fact checked by The Law Dictionary