Define: Abrogation

Quick Summary of Abrogation

Abrogation is a legal term that refers to the act of repealing, abolishing, or officially revoking a law, regulation, treaty, or agreement. When a law or legal provision is abrogated, it is rendered null and void, and its legal effect is terminated. Abrogation can occur through legislative action, such as the enactment of a new law that expressly repeals or supersedes the existing law, or through judicial decisions that invalidate or strike down a law as unconstitutional or unlawful. Abrogation is often used to eliminate outdated or obsolete laws, correct legal inconsistencies, or address changing societal norms or circumstances. However, the process of abrogation may vary depending on the legal system and the specific procedures or requirements set forth in applicable laws or regulations.

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

Abrogation is the act of officially repealing or revoking a law, agreement, or decision. It involves the deliberate and formal annulment or cancellation of a previously established rule or regulation. Abrogation can occur through legislative action, judicial ruling, or executive order, and it effectively renders the abrogated measure null and void. This term is commonly used in legal and governmental contexts to describe the process of abolishing or invalidating a legal provision or contractual obligation.

Full Definition Of Abrogation

The destruction or annulling of a former law by an act of legislative power, by constitutional authority, or by usage. It stands opposed to rogation and is distinguished from derogation, which implies the taking away of only some part of a law; from subrogation, which denotes the substitution of a clause; from dispensation, which only sets it aside in a particular instance; and from antiquation, which is the refusing to pass a law.

For example, the abrogation of the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibited the manufacture or sale of intoxicating liquors, was accomplished by the enactment of the twenty-first amendment. Implied abrogation takes place when a new law contains provisions that are positively contrary to a former law, without expressly abrogating such laws, or when the order of things for which the law has been made no longer exists.

Abrogation FAQ'S

Abrogation refers to the act of repealing or abolishing a law, regulation, or contractual provision, thereby nullifying its legal effect.

Abrogation involves the complete removal or annulment of a law or provision, while amendment involves making changes or modifications to it while keeping it in force.

The authority to abrogate laws or provisions typically rests with the legislative body responsible for enacting them, such as a national parliament, state legislature, or municipal council.

Some common reasons for abrogating laws are:

  • Changes in societal norms or values.
  • Legal inconsistencies or conflicts.
  • Obsolescence or irrelevance of the law.
  • Repealing outdated or ineffective regulations.

Yes, judicial decisions can lead to the abrogation of laws or provisions if courts determine them to be unconstitutional, invalid, or in conflict with higher legal authorities, such as a constitution or treaty.

Yes, contractual provisions can be abrogated through mutual agreement between the parties involved or by legal action if one party seeks to nullify or invalidate certain terms of the contract.

The procedures required for abrogating laws vary depending on the legal system and jurisdiction but often involve:

  • Introducing legislation to repeal or amend the existing law.
  • Debating and voting on the proposed changes in the legislative body.
  • Enacting the changes through formal enactment procedures, such as presidential approval or royal assent.

Yes, the power of abrogation may be subject to limitations imposed by constitutional provisions, international treaties, or principles of rule of law, separation of powers, and judicial review.

Abrogation may have retroactive effects if the new law expressly provides for retroactivity or if the abrogation affects rights or obligations arising from past events or transactions.


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: 11th April 2024.

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