Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Quasi-Delict Definition:

Civil law: a delict (wrong) caused by negligence.

Related Terms: Tort, Delict, Civil Law, Civil Liability, Obligations

A quasi-delict is a negligent act or omission which causes harm or damage to the person or property of another, and thus exposes a person to civil liability in civil law jurisdictions, as if the act or omission was intentional (a delict).

Quasi-delicts were not recognized by early Roman law.

Gaius, for example, defined obligations as comprised only of delicts and contracts.

Quasi-delicts only received official recognition in the publication of Justinian's Institutes in about 533 and thereafter were part and parcel of Roman law and, later, civil law.

Robert-Joseph Pothier defined a delict as intentional harm. But a quasi-delict, wrote Pothier is:

" ... where a person, not with malice but by inexcusable carelessness, causes harm to another."

In his 1967 Dictionaire de Droit, Barraine defines a quasi-delict as:

"Any unintentional and unlawful act or omission which causes damages."

French: quasi-délit.


  • Barraine, Raymond, Dicionnaire de Droit (Paris: R. Pichon, 1967), page 247 ("Tout fait dommageable et illicite comis sans intention de nuire ... pouvant revêtir la forme d'un acte ou d'une omission").
  • Buckland, W. and McNair, A., Roman Law and Common Law (Cambridge: University Press, 1965), page 193.
  • Bugnet, M., Oeuvres de Pothier, Volume 2 (Paris: Henri Plon, 1861), page 57 ("Le quasi-délit est le fait par lequel une personne, sans malignité, mais par imprudence qui n'est pas excusable, cause quelque tort à un autre").
  • Duhaime, Lloyd, LegalDefinition of Delict
  • Duhaime, Lloyd, Legal Definition of Obligations
  • Nadeau, R. and A., Traité Pratique de la Responsabilité Civile (Montréal: Wilson & Lafleur, 1971), page 4-5.

Categories & Topics:

Always looking up definitions? Save time with our search provider (modern browsers only)

If you find an error or omission in Duhaime's Law Dictionary, or if you have suggestion for a legal term, we'd love to hear from you!