Deviation Law and Legal Definition

The term deviation depending on the context it is used has varied meanings. Generally it means a change from a customary or agreed course of action. It is the noun form of the verb deviate.

In Employment law deviation can refer to a departure from one’s course of employment to tend to a personal matter. This becomes significant in disputes regarding worker’s compensation, or in employer’s tort liability to third parties based on employee’s action.

In Insurance law deviation can refer to a departure by an insured party from a routine course of action, which results in increased risk of some loss that the insured is indemnified against.

In Maritime law deviation means a departure from the terms expressed in a bill of lading or other transportation contract. It is a voluntary departure, without necessity, or any reasonable cause, from the regular and usual course of the voyage. From the moment this happens, the voyage is changed, the contract determined, and the insurer discharged from all subsequent responsibility. Usually by the contract, the insurer only runs the risk of the contract agreed upon, and no other. Therefore a condition is implied in the policy, that the ship shall proceed to her port of destination by the shortest and safest course, and shall not deviate from that course, but in cases of necessity.

It could also refer to criminal sentencing.