Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Omission


Video Guide For Omission

What is the dictionary definition of Omission?

Dictionary Definition


  1. failure to perform an act agreed to, where there is a duty to an individual or the public to act (including omitting to take care) or where it is required by law. Such an omission may give rise to a lawsuit in the same way as a negligent or improper act.
  2. inadvertently leaving out a word, phrase or other language from a contract, deed, judgment or other document. If the parties agree that the omission was due to a mutual mistake, the document may be “reformed,” but this may require a petition for a court order making the correction if it had been relied upon by government authorities or third parties.

Full Definition of Omission

There are few ‘crimes of omission’ in English law. On the whole, failing to prevent harm is not a crime unless there is a legal duty of care. I would not be guilty of any specific offence if I stood by and watched a stranger jump off a cliff, however easy it would be for me to prevent the harm. Cases, where an omission may be an offence, include:

  • wilful refusal to comply with a statutory obligation. An example might be refusing to supply a breath specimen for an alcohol test when the law requires that one does so;
  • not carrying out a duty which is a contractual obligation;
  • failing to exercise a duty of care (e.g., parents for their children), including cases where a duty of care has been assumed (see: Assumed duty of care);
  • where the omission omits to correct a harmful situation caused by the defendant (see: R v Miller (1983)).

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Omission. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd.
December 01, 2022
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Omission. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: December 01, 2022).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Omission. Retrieved December 01, 2022
, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Omission are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 22nd November, 2021 | 0 Views.