(due) diligence – persevering effort to accomplish one’s business, duty, etc.

     This page is continued from Civil Law Self-Help >>>> Section 1; Torts, Breach of Contract, and Assessing Liability >>>> Torts >>>> Basic Classifications of Torts >>>> Negligent Tort >>>> Negligence >>>> Ordinary Negligence:



1. Constant application to one’s business or duty; persevering effort to accomplish something undertaken.

2. The attention and care required from a person in a given situation; care; heedfulness.  *  The Roman-law equivalent is diligentia. [1]

1. Active attention to some matter in hand. Heintz v Cooper, 104 Cal 670, 38 P 512.

The opposite of laches. 27 Am J2d Eq § 152.

A relative term incapable of precise definition, its meaning being dependent upon the particular circumstances of the case.

Under Scotch law, the word is applied to an execution proceeding for the collection o a debt. [2]

1. Active attention to a matter; perseverance; the application of energy.  “Diligence” is incapable of precise definition unrelated to the context in which is it used because its meaning depends upon the particular circumstances of the case.  The concept of diligence is closely related to the concept of care and, like care, it is important as a standard for determining negligence.  The law prescribes various degrees of diligence, ranging from slight diligence to extraordinary diligence. [3]

     Excerpt from John Salmond’s Jurisprudence 393 n.(i) (Glanville L. Williams ed., 10th ed. 1947):

     “Care, or the absence of neglentia, is diligentia.  The use of the word diligence in this sense is obsolete in modern English, though it is still retained as an archaism of legal diction.  In ordinary usage, diligence is opposed to idleness, not to carelessness. [4]

due diligence:

1. The diligence reasonably expected from, and ordinarily exercised by, a person who seeks to satisfy a legal requirement or to discharge an obligation. — aka reasonable diligence; common diligence.

2. Corporations & securities. A prospective buyer’s or broker’s investigation and analysis of a target company, a piece of property, or a newly issued security. 0 A failure to exercise due diligence may sometimes result in liability, as when a broker recommends a security without first investigating it adequately.

3. Criminal law. The prosecutorial burden of meeting all speedy-trial requirements in bringing a criminal defendant to justice. [1]

1. Constancy or steadiness of purpose or labor by men who desire a speedy accomplishment of their purposes and such assiduity in the prosecution of the enterprise as manifest to the world a bona fide intention to complete the task within a reasonable time. Ophir Silver Mining Co. v Carpenter, 4 Nev 534.

In reference to conduct negativing negligence or contributory negligence, that amount of diligence which a reasonable and prudent man would exercise under the circumstances. Perry v Cedar Falls, 87 Iowa 315, 316.

As a prerequisite to a continuance on the ground of the absence of a witness, due diligence in attempting to procure the attendance of the witness means that a party avail himself to the means provided by law, when practicable, to force the attendance of the witness. Fritsch v J.M. English Truck Line, Inc. 151 Tex 168, 246 SW2d 856.
     See due care. [2]

1. Amount of diligence that a reasonable and prudent person would exercise under the same circumstances. 
— aka ordinary diligence; reasonable diligence. [3]

     See diligent inquiry; extraordinary diligence; ordinary diligence; prudence; reasonable diligence; slight diligence. [2]

Related Terms:

reasonable person test – a hypothetical person used as a legal standard, especially to determine if someone acted with negligence.

(due) diligence – persevering effort to accomplish one’s business, duty, etc.


Disclaimer: All material throughout this website is compiled in accordance with Fair Use.

[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black, Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-61300-4

[2]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations Third Edition by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Edited by William S. Anderson.  © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY.  Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931

[3]:  Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition
by Jack Ballantine 
(James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.

[4]: John Salmond’s Jurisprudence 393 n.(i) (Glanville L. Williams ed., 10th ed. 1947)


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