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The FindLaw Legal Dictionary -- free access to over 8260 definitions of legal terms. Search for a definition or browse our legal glossaries.



duty n

pl: du·ties
[Anglo-French deuté indebtedness, obligation, from deu owing, due, from Old French see due ]
1 : tasks, service, or functions that arise from one's position [performing a police officer's duties]
: a period of being on duty see also jury duty
2 : an obligation assumed (as by contract) or imposed by law to conduct oneself in conformance with a certain standard or to act in a particular way [ of good faith] [a to warn of danger] see also public duty doctrine, special duty doctrine

duty of can·dor
: a duty obligating directors of a corporation to disclose all material facts known to them about a transaction when they are seeking shareholder approval

duty of care
: a duty to use due care toward others in order to protect them from unnecessary risk of harm

duty of fair representation
: a duty obligating a labor union to represent the employees in its collective bargaining unit fairly and in good faith

duty of loy·al·ty
: a duty obligating directors of a corporation to refrain from using their positions to further their own interests rather than the interests of the shareholders (as by self-dealing or fraud)

fiduciary duty
: a duty obligating a fiduciary (as an agent or trustee) to act with loyalty and honesty and in a manner consistent with the best interests of the beneficiary of the fiduciary relationship (as a principal or trust beneficiary)
3 : tax
: a tax on imports

off duty
: not engaged in a duty [a police officer who is off duty]

on duty
: engaged in a duty

Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.

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