Releases Law & Legal Definition


A release gives up a right, such as releasing one from his/her liability for harm or damage that may occur from performing under a contract, or participating in an activity. Some activities are considered inherently dangerous, and those who participate in such activities may be required to sign a release form, acknowledging that they are assuming the responsibility for their voluntary participation in such activities. The release acts as an assurance to the person requesting the release that they will not be subjected to litigation resulting from the signing party's informed and consensual acts. It may be a condition to the acceptance of benefits in settling a claim, in which the person receiving the benefit agrees that person making the settlement has fully carried out their duties in regard to the claim and will not be liable for any further benefits.

A release generally gives up the signing party's (the releasor's) right to sue the person or entity requesting the release (the releasee). Sometimes use of a product is conditioned on a release or waiver of liability, without a signature required, such as in accepting to terms of use of software or a website. The terms of the release document govern the scope of actions that the released party is immune from liability for. In general, a release obtained by fraud is invalid. In most instances, a release for intentional wrongdoing or willful and wanton misconduct will not be enforced.