fault n [Anglo-French faute lack, failing, ultimately from Latin fallere to deceive, disappoint]
1: a usu. intentional act forbidden by law; also: a usu. intentional omission to do something (as to exercise due care) required by law see also negligence compare no-fault; strict liability at liability
◇ Sometimes when fault is used in legal contexts it includes negligence, sometimes it is considered synonymous with negligence, and sometimes it is distinguished from negligence. Fault and negligence are the usual bases for liability in the law of torts.
2: responsibility for an act or omission that causes damage or injury to another
relative degrees of fault see also comparative fault
at fault: liable or responsible based on fault
was not at fault

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law. . 1996.

I (mistake) noun aberration, blunder, bungling, erratum, error, error of judgment, failing, false step, flaw, impropriety, inaccuracy, miscalculation, misjudgment, misstep, misunderstanding, omission, oversight, slip foreign phrases:
- Imperitia culpae adnumeratur. — Unskillfulness is considered as negligence.
- Quod quis ex culpa sua damnum sentit non intelligitur damnum sentire. — He who suffers a damage by his own fault is not considered to have suffered damage
- Culpa tenet suos auctores. — A fault binds its own authors
- Magna negligentia culpa est; magna culpa dolus est — Gross negligence is fault; gross fault is equivalent to a fraud
II (responsibility) noun accountability, answerability, blame, cause for blame, culpa, culpability, delictum, delinquency, dereliction, liability, malefaction, misbehavior, misconduct, misdeed, misfeasance, negligence, peccatum, transgression associated concepts: comparative fault, contributory fault, contributory negligence, gross fault, with all faults, without fault foreign phrases:
- Culpa est immiscere se rei ad se non pertinenti. — A person is at fault who intermeddles in matters not concerning him
- Ejus nulla culpa est, cul parere necesse sit — No guilt attaches to a person who is compelled to obey
- In pari delicto potior est conditio possidentis, defendentis. — Where the parties are equally guilty of wrongdoing, the defendant holds the stronger position
III (weakness) noun debility, defect, deficiency, delicacy, devitalization, drawback, emasculation, failing, feebleness, flaw, foible, frailty, impairment, imperfection, impotence, impuissance, inadequacy, incapacity, infirmity, instability, insufficiency, lack of strength, loss of strength, powerlessness, shortcoming, vitiation, vulnerable point, weak point IV verb accusare, accuse, admonish, animadvert, attack, berate, blame, bring into discredit, cast a slur upon, cast blame upon, castigate, censure, charge, chastise, chide, condemn, criticize, culpare, declaim against, decry, denigrate, denounce, deprecate, depreciate, disapprove, discommend, discountenance, disparage, dispraise, dress down, hold to blame, impeach, impugn, impute, remonstrate, reprehend, reprimand, reprove, scold, take to task, upbraid V index blame (culpability), blame, culpability, decry, defacement, defect, deficiency, delinquency (misconduct), deprecate, depreciate, disadvantage, discommend, drawback, error, flaw, foible, frailty, guilt, impeach, mischief, misconduct, misdeed, misdoing, onus (blame), rift (gap), tort, transgression, vice

Burton's Legal Thesaurus. . 2006

Blame; responsibility for a bad result; a wrongful act or mistake; negligence; breach of duty.

The Essential Law Dictionary. — Sphinx Publishing, An imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. . 2008.

one of the central concepts in the law of tort or delict. A legal system can look at harmful conduct in different ways. It can focus on the interest infringed and declare it a tort to occupy another's property for example. However, this produces results that certainly cause moral problems and thus eventually cause legal problems. So where a person inadvertently infringes another's interest, the law has to decide whether to penalise or not. Generally, the more advanced a legal system, the more it is likely to take this into account. Thus, Roman law achieved this result in the early years of the first millennium and English law began to do so towards the end of the second. In the 19th century especially, the proposition began to be put in reverse, it being said that there would be no liability without fault, fault being necessary but not necessarily sufficient to establish liability. Fault had the benefit of comprising most existing categories of case where the plaintiff deliberately harmed the defendant, but it also allowed cases where the defendant had been careless to be included. Fault became associated with intentional wrongdoing or recklessness, which was its equivalent, and also with certain instances of carelessness. In civilian systems, fault in this sense of exhibiting less than reasonable care would be sufficient to establish a prima facie case but would be subject to limitation in the scope of liability in the basis of the notion of remoteness. English law (and ironically) Scots law took a different course with the decision in Donoghue v. Stevenson 1932 SC (HL) 31, which established that a lack of care would constitute fault but only where there was a pre-existing duty of care. This duty could be found in precedent or arise from the relationship between the parties. Fault became much more a technical concept after that, and its moral aspect diminished. An objective approach to some aspects of the investigation into liability was a further blow to any moral approach. Fault in the later part of the 20th century fell out of favour as a mechanism for achieving many of the things that tort or delict did. Exhortation of citizens is better done through penalties inflicted through an efficient criminal justice system backed by an organised police force. The existence of an insurance industry can make it economically efficient to redirect liability in the direction of the person who is most likely to be able to acquire insurance cover at lowest cost, thus ensuring that injured persons seeking compensation are actually compensated without recourse to general taxation or charity. Statutory strict liability is beginning to appear in the interstices of the law so that fault may become a safety net for cases outside strict liability.

Collins dictionary of law. . 2001.

n. A negligent or intentional failure to act reasonably or according to law or duty; an act or omission giving rise to a criminal indictment or a civil tort lawsuit.

Webster's New World Law Dictionary. . 2000.

Neglect of care; an act to which blame or censure is attached. Fault implies any negligence, error, or defect of judgment.

Dictionary from West's Encyclopedia of American Law. 2005.

Neglect of care; an act to which blame or censure is attached. Fault implies any negligence, error, or defect of judgment.

Short Dictionary of (mostly American) Legal Terms and Abbreviations.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Fault — Fault, n. [OE. faut, faute, F. faute (cf. It., Sp., & Pg. falta), fr. a verb meaning to want, fail, freq., fr. L. fallere to deceive. See {Fail}, and cf. {Default}.] 1. Defect; want; lack; default. [1913 Webster] One, it pleases me, for fault of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • fault — [fɔːlt ǁ fɒːlt] noun [countable] 1. MANUFACTURING something that is wrong with a machine, system etc that prevents it from working correctly: fault in • Soviet engineers identified 32 design faults in the reactor, any of which could have led to… …   Financial and business terms

  • fault — [fôlt] n. [ME faute < OFr faulte, a lack < VL * fallita < * fallitus, for L falsus: see FALSE] 1. Obs. failure to have or do what is required; lack 2. something that mars the appearance, character, structure, etc.; defect or failing 3.… …   English World dictionary

  • Fault — may refer to:*Fault (geology), planar rock fractures which show evidence of relative movement *Fault (technology), an abnormal condition or defect at the component, equipment, or sub system level which may lead to a failure *An asymmetric fault… …   Wikipedia

  • fault — FÁULT, faulturi, s.n. (La unele jocuri sportive) Act nesportiv (lovire intenţionată, trântire, împingere etc.) comis de un jucător asupra adversarului şi sancţionat de arbitru. [pr.: fa ult] – Din engl. fault. Trimis de RACAI, 21.11.2003. Sursa:… …   Dicționar Român

  • fault — n 1 imperfection, deficiency, shortcoming Analogous words: flaw, defect, *blemish: weakness, infirmity (see corresponding adjectives at WEAK) Antonyms: excellence 2 Fault, failing, frailty, foible, vice are comparable when they mean an… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • fault — ► NOUN 1) an unattractive or unsatisfactory feature; a defect or mistake. 2) responsibility for an accident or misfortune. 3) (in tennis) a service that infringes the rules. 4) Geology an extended break in a rock formation, marked by the relative …   English terms dictionary

  • Fault — Fault, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Faulted}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Faulting}.] 1. To charge with a fault; to accuse; to find fault with; to blame. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] For that I will not fault thee. Old Song. [1913 Webster] 2. (Geol.) To interrupt the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • fault´i|ly — fault|y «FL tee», adjective, fault|i|er, fault|i|est. 1. having faults; containing blemishes or errors; wrong; imperfect; defective: » …   Useful english dictionary

  • fault|y — «FL tee», adjective, fault|i|er, fault|i|est. 1. having faults; containing blemishes or errors; wrong; imperfect; defective: » …   Useful english dictionary

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