Define: Abrogate

Quick Summary of Abrogate

Abrogate means to officially revoke, abolish, or annul a law, agreement, or custom through formal action. Legislative action, a court ruling, or an executive order can all accomplish this, effectively negating the subject’s legal force or impact. The term is often used in legal and governmental contexts to describe the act of repealing or rescinding a previously established rule or regulation. Abrogation may occur due to changes in circumstances, shifts in public policy, or recognition of the inadequacy or injustice of the existing law or agreement.

What is the dictionary definition of Abrogate?
Dictionary Definition of Abrogate

Abrogate (verb): to officially or formally abolish, annul, or revoke a law, agreement, or custom. This act is typically carried out by a higher authority or governing body, rendering the subject matter no longer valid or in effect. Abrogation is often undertaken to rectify an unjust or outdated regulation, to terminate a treaty or contract, or to dismantle an established practice. The process of abrogating involves the deliberate and intentional act of declaring the nullification or cancellation of a particular legal or social arrangement.

repeal or do away with (a law, right, or formal agreement).

  1. transitive To annul by an authoritative act; to abolish by the authority of the maker or her or his successor; to repeal; — applied to the repeal of laws, decrees, ordinances, the abolition of customs, etc.
  2. transitive To put an end to; to do away with.
  3. molecular biology Block a process or function.


  • To cancel or nullify an agreement or contract, either unilaterally or with mutual consent.
  • To abolish, annul, or repeal a law by formal, authoritative action.
Full Definition Of Abrogate

v. to annul or repeal a law or pass legislation that contradicts the prior law. Abrogate also applies to revoking or withdrawing the conditions of a contract.

Abrogate FAQ'S

Abrogation refers to the act of repealing, cancelling, or abolishing a law, treaty, agreement, or right. It essentially nullifies or revokes the legal force or validity of the subject matter.

In principle, most laws, agreements, or rights can be abrogated, although the process and legality of doing so may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the nature of the subject matter.

Abrogation and repeal are similar concepts, both involving the cancellation or annulment of laws or agreements. However, abrogation typically implies a more forceful or unilateral action, while repeal may involve a formal legislative process.

The authority to abrogate laws or agreements may vary depending on the legal system and the specific context. In democratic societies, this authority may rest with legislative bodies, executive authorities, or through judicial review.

Laws or agreements may be abrogated for various reasons, such as changes in societal norms or values, ineffectiveness or obsolescence of existing laws, violation of constitutional rights, or the need to address unforeseen consequences.

Yes, international treaties can be abrogated, although the process and consequences may differ from domestic laws. Typically, treaties contain provisions outlining the conditions and procedures for termination or withdrawal.

The procedures for abrogating laws or agreements vary depending on the legal system and the nature of the subject matter. In democratic societies, abrogation may require legislative action, executive orders, or judicial rulings.

Yes, there may be limitations on the power to abrogate laws or agreements, such as constitutional constraints, international obligations, and principles of due process and rule of law.

The consequences of abrogating a law or agreement depend on the specific circumstances and the nature of the subject matter. It may lead to legal uncertainty, litigation, diplomatic tensions (in the case of international agreements), or the need to enact new laws or agreements to address the void left by the abrogation.

In some cases, abrogated laws or agreements may be reinstated through legislative action, executive orders, or renegotiating agreements. However, this process may not always be straightforward and may depend on the political and legal context.


This site contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. Persuing this glossary does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

This glossary post was last updated: 9th April 2024.

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