Misfeasance in Public Office

Misfeasance in public office is a civil or criminal offence that involves a public official performing their duties in a negligent or improper manner, resulting in harm or damage to another person or the public at large. Unlike malfeasance, misfeasance generally involves a public official acting with the intention of carrying out their duty, but doing so in a way that is unlawful, irrational or unreasonable.

To prove the offence of misfeasance in public office, the prosecution must show that:
  1. The accused was a public official, and owed a duty of care to the person or persons affected by their actions;
  2. The accused acted in a manner that was outside the scope of their lawful authority, or acted in a way that was irrational or unreasonable, and that this constituted a breach of their duty;
  3. The accused intended to cause harm or damage, or was reckless as to the harm or damage caused; and
  4. The actions of the accused caused harm or damage to the person or persons affected by their actions.

Misfeasance in public office is a serious offence that can result in civil liability, disciplinary action or criminal charges. In civil proceedings, the affected party may seek damages for the harm or damage caused by the misfeasance. In criminal proceedings, the accused may face imprisonment or fines, depending on the severity of the offence. The offence is often used to prosecute public officials who act negligently or improperly, such as by abusing their power, making decisions that are irrational or unreasonable, or failing to carry out their duties with due care and skill.
Back to blog

UOL Case Bank

Upon joining, you become a valuable UOL student and gain instant access to over 2,100 case summaries. UOL Case Bank is constantly expanding. Speed up your revision with us now.

Subscribe Now

Where are our students from?

Yale University
Council of Europe
Baker Mckenzie 
University of Chicago
Columbia University
New York University
University of Michigan 
INSEAD
University College London (UCL)
London School of Economics (LSE)
King’s College London (KCL)
University of London
University of Manchester
University of Zurich
University of York
Brandeis University
University of Exeter
University of Sheffield
Boston University
University of Washington
University of Leeds
University of Law
Royal Holloway, University of London 
Birkbeck, University of London
SOAS, University of London
University of Kent
University of Hull
Queen’s University Belfast
Toronto Metropolitan University
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
University of Buckingham

  • Criminal Practice

    Diagrams and Charts

    Our carefully designed diagrams and charts will guide you through complex legal issues.

  • Criminal Law

    Clear and Succinct Definitions

    Key concepts are concisely defined to help you understand legal topics quickly.

  • Property Law

    Statutory Provisions

    Statutory provisions are provided side by side with legal concepts to help you swiftly locate the relevant legislation.

  • Public Law

    Case Summaries

    We have summarised important cases for you so that you don't need to read long and boring cases.

  • Evidence

    Rules and Exceptions

    Rules and exceptions are clearly listed so that you know when a rule applies and when it doesn't.

  • Company Law

    Terminology

    Legal terms and key concepts are explained at the beginning of each chapter to help you learn efficiently.

  • Case Law

    Case law is provided side by side with legal concepts so that you know how legal principles and precedents were established.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Law Essay Guide

    You will learn essential law exam skills and essay writing techniques that are not taught in class.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Problem Question Guide

    We will show you how to answer problem questions step by step to achieve first-class results.

  • Conflict of Laws

    Structured Explanations

    Complex legal concepts are broken down into concise and digestible bullet point explanations.

  • Legal System and Method

    Legal Research

    You will learn legal research techniques with our study guide and become a proficient legal researcher.

  • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory

    Exam-focused

    All essential concepts, principles, and case law are included so that you can answer exam questions quickly.