obligation


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Wikipedia.

obligation

1. Law a legally enforceable agreement to perform some act, esp to pay money, for the benefit of another party
2. Law
a. a written contract containing a penalty
b. an instrument acknowledging indebtedness to secure the repayment of money borrowed

Obligation

 

a relationship in civil law wherein one party (the debtor) is obliged to perform a certain action (transfer property, perform work, pay money) for the benefit of another party (the creditor) or to refrain from performing the action. The creditor in turn has the right to require the debtor to carry out his obligation. Under Soviet law the parties to an obligation are socialist organizations and citizens. Obligations generally arise from a contract, from planning or other administrative directives, from the infliction of property damage subject to compensation, or from the unjust acquisition or holding of property.

Depending on the rights and duties of the parties, obligations may be classified as those involving transfer of property to ownership or operational management, with or without compensation; transfer of property for use, with or without compensation; performance of work or services; or the protection of socialist and personal property or other property rights.

If several creditors or several debtors are involved in an obligation, its manner of performance is determined by the object of the obligation and the conditions of the agreement of the parties. If each of the participants in the obligation is required to perform a certain (equal or unequal) part of the obligation, the obligation is called a joint obligation. If the creditor has the right to demand performance of the obligation in full from any one of the creditors (in which case the other participants in the obligation are released from liability), the obligation is called a joint and several (solidary) obligation. Performance of an obligation may be secured by an additional obligation. If the obligation is not performed voluntarily, the debtor can be compelled to perform the obligation by a court or arbitration board.

An obligation may be terminated by setting-off a similar counterclaim, by agreement between the parties, if the performance of the obligation is impossible and the debtor is not responsible, or by the dissolution of a legal person (debtor or creditor) unless performance of the obligation is assigned by law to another legal person.

References in classic literature ?
Its obligation, therefore, never exceeds that of expediency.
Bills of attainder, ex post facto laws, and laws impairing the obligation of contracts, are contrary to the first principles of the social compact, and to every principle of sound legislation.
And above all things, a prince ought to live amongst his people in such a way that no unexpected circumstances, whether of good or evil, shall make him change; because if the necessity for this comes in troubled times, you are too late for harsh measures; and mild ones will not help you, for they will be considered as forced from you, and no one will be under any obligation to you for them.
He no more thought of putting you under an obligation than he thought of being polite.
The princess, who had never liked Pierre and had been particularly hostile to him since she had felt herself under obligations to him after the old count's death, now after staying a short time in Orel- where she had come intending to show Pierre that in spite of his ingratitude she considered it her duty to nurse him- felt to her surprise and vexation that she had become fond of him.
I'm convinced," he said, "that there are cases in which perfect sincerity is possible--cases where there's no relationship, though the people live together, if you like, where each is free, where there's no obligation upon either side.
the scientific conscience had got into the debasing company of money obligation and selfish respects.
Tonight the greatest of all obligations had been placed upon him--his life had been saved by another and Tarzan shook his head and growled, for it had been saved by one whom he hated above all others.
I wish we could be brought to consider this, and remembering natural obligations a little more at the right time, talk about them a little less at the wrong one.
You think that if you were to accept that trifle from me now, I should presume upon it hereafter; but you are mistaken:- if you will only oblige me by taking it, believe me, I shall build no hopes upon it, and consider this no precedent for future favours:- and it is nonsense to talk about putting yourself under obligations to me when you must know that in such a case the obligation is entirely on my side, - the favour on yours.
Every step which she took toward relieving herself from obligations added to her strength and expansion as an individual.
Nothing but a sense of the obligations they were under to his nation induced them to bear with such a guest; but he proceeded, speedily, to relieve them from the weight of these obligations, by eating a receipt in full.