Abuse of rights

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In countries that follow Romano-German jurisprudence (civil law), abuse of rights (also known as Prohibition of Chicane) is a judicial principle where law must not be used to allow or justify causing intentional harm.


The prohibition of chicane is known as the abuse of rights (German Wikipedia link) in German law (BGB §226).

The Swiss Civil Code states "The manifest abuse of a right is not protected by law."

At least one of four conditions is required to invoke the doctrine:[1]

  • the predominant motive for exercising the right is to cause harm
  • no serious or legitimate motive exists for exercising the right
  • the exercise of the right is against moral rules, good faith, or elementary fairness
  • the right is exercised for a purpose other than that for which it was granted.

The principle does not exist in common law jurisdictions.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Abuse of Rights". uslegal.com. 

Further reading[edit]