Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Defeasance Definition:

A side-contract which contains a condition which, if realized, could defeat the main contract.

Related Terms: Deed

In Re Storey, Justice Jessel wrote:

"A defeasance is something which defeats the operation of a deed, but is contained in some other deed or document. If it is contained in the same deed it is called a condition."

In Stott v Shaw & Lee, Justice Shearman:

"The words defeasance or condition ... mean an agreement between the parties to the bill of sale affecting either the right of the grantor to redeem the goods or of the grantee to seize them."

In Louis v Garrison, Justice McBride of the Court of Appeal of Louisiana adopted this definition:

"Defeasance (is) an instrument which defeats the force or operation of some other deed or of an estate."

The common English usage of the word defeasance has also become acceptable in law, referring to a contract that is susceptible to being declared void as in "immoral contracts are susceptible to defeasance."


  • Fraser v Murray, 34 NSR 186 (1901)
  • Louis v. Garrison, 64 So. 2d 254 (1953)
  • Re Storey, 21 Ch D 73 (1881)
  • Stott v Shaw & Lee Ltd., [1928] 2 KB 26

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!